Saturday, February 13, 2010

Protecting the Family: Resisting the Urge to Hole Up

I can't tell you how often people have told me I'm brave to venture out with my kids. While some women have told me they could never venture out on the road the way we do, others have told me they've been inspired to branch out. I've been called brave, energetic, smart, crazy, nuts even careless. Some men tell me they would never let their wives roam the way I do. (Thank heavens those men are not akin to mine.)

But let me tell you, I don't go into these adventures with my eyes entirely shut. I do consider the possibility that something, often any number of things, could go wrong. I try not to dwell on them, but to take whatever precautions and make whatever preparations I can, then carry on. Still, I do, on occasion, find myself having to resist the urge to stay home, holed up in relative safety, in hopes of protecting my children from the dangers outside our door. Today was a case in point.

Mr. B (aka Safetyman) and V headed out for a walk this morning while E and I wrapped up some projects at the house. They were headed to a park about a mile and a half from our house; a walk that involved crossing one very busy street, in our community's terms. Mr. B doesn't jaywalk. He believes in the power of the crosswalk, the safety a traffic signal should provide. And he's right - those things should provide pedestrians some added safety. He and V pushed the magic button, waited for the light to turn in their favor, then looked both ways.

"It looked like everyone was slowing down for the light," he told me over lunch. "But one car didn't stop. We almost got hit. That could've been it right there."

At the last minute, the driver realized his error and, as he sped by, gave Mr. B an apologetic look. What good would that have done if Mr. B and V had been a step ahead, a few feet further into his path?

I have a pretty vivid imagination, and I have to force myself not to go there lest I panic and lock my family inside. It helps to remember that, really, we're not safe there, either, and that this life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed, to be celebrated. While staying home and relaxing with family for the sake of family unity and joy is one thing, locking ourselves away from the world is not the answer.

So we continue to venture forth, and hope for the best.

If you're thinking about hitting the road with your kids in tow, don't let the fear of a flat tire slow you down. Learn to change a tire, and practice before you hit the road. Carry a credit card with a credit limit large enough to help in other emergencies. Carry a cell phone so you can call for help, whether it be roadside assistance or a sympathetic ear. Bring your sense of adventure, your family and supplies - and enjoy the ride.

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