It is a gorgeous Monday morning here on what is the second to last Monday of school for my children. Yes, in eight short days of instruction, I will no longer have a sixth, second, and kindergartener. It is that time of the school year when parents and adults alike begin thinking in terms of chapters and doors closing more than what chapters and doors are opening. It is a time of bitter and sweet for many of us who remember when we too were ending our school years and dreaming of the summer days.
The weather has turned dark here in our lovely northwest and so have my thoughts. I admit, it is an easy feat — getting me worried about something. But some times the bits and pieces come together in such a way that leave me quite worried about the potential boogeymen out there. Two things collided in my world recently that had that very effect. First, a parent told me she had heard a member of the sexual offenders registry lives near the bus stop and then I beta-read a Twitter friend’s novel. (By the way, someday, you will have to read it. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.)
I have people in my life who scoff at my worries about predators having access to my kids. No, I’m not paranoid. I’m realistic. I know the boogeyman exists and I’ve met him.
Like most of you all, I wear many hats. As part of that multiple hat wearing fetish of mine, I just returned last night from a week-long trip taking 21 teenagers (ages 13-18) to Billings, Montana for a week-long youth event. Let me say first off that it was a wonderful experience and I had a great time. But I’d be lying if I said driving them to Billings was in the “Great Time” column. The scenery was fantastic — which if you’ve never had the chance to drive about this awesomely geographically diverse nation, I would highly recommend it. However, if you have a choice of the hormone levels, deodorant-applicating skills, and musical tastes of your fellow road trippers, I would recommend erring on the side of caution. Because nothing can bring down a driver’s road-tripping mojo like crabby passengers. Or, hearing “Are we there yet?” within two hours of leaving the front door. Read more…