We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.
There are caveats, of course. The Boy can only be alone-alone for 15 minutes or so. The Tween can be alone-alone for about 90 before she gets anxious. The two together — well, it kind of depends on the sibling weather.
Way back in September, due to a perfect storm of commitments, I wound up being the parent who had to go to the Middle School Open House while my husband worked. Because I don’t always thoroughly read the stuff that the schools send home, which I totally take ownership of, I didn’t realize that the open house wasn’t a drop-in, chit-chat, go home event. Instead, the parents would be following their kids’ schedules.
Not a big deal, really. But I’d told the kids I’d only be gone for 20 minutes max. I tried to call home to let them know the change but the cell reception at the Middle School is iffy at best. It’s a great situation for teachers who want their students to pay attention, granted.
Still, I could be home in three minutes — or, if I catch the light right, 2½ — just in case something happened.
Which is why I panicked when my cellphone went off in the middle of my child’s seventh-period class. First, because my phone rang really loudly while the teacher was speaking; second, because I was convinced that something dire had happened.
I ducked into the hallway to call home. I couldn’t get anything resembling a signal.
So I ran outside and called home, expecting to hear a tale of woe and blood and fire. I was fully prepared to talk to a paramedic or a police officer.