Child abductions are rare but currently in the news, as are a rash of sex offenders. These things are on my mind when my son unlocks all the locks on the front door and bounds out into the garden at 7:40 in the morning. He dashes down the path all legs and limbs like Bambi. He stops at the gate and hangs on it before he glances back at me to give me a thumbs up sign. He gives me another thumbs up sign because he knows that I am old and may not understand the hand gesture of the young and hopefully hip because he’s considerate like that. He argues with himself for a few moments, debating. I watch him debate as he weighs the matter up, both sides before his better side sighs and stomps back to the house, to me, his mother, who is waiting. He takes the ‘yell through the open window’ option, “iz o.k. mom……I’m waiting for dah bus.” I beam, “I guessed that!” He flaps a hand in my direction a dismissal and a whatever before his feet turn to propel him back to his waiting position, his body follows a nano second later.

Too many ‘firsts’ to count.

He does press ups on the gate post to pass the time of day. His body is precarious as it wobbles to and fro over the top of the gate but he doesn’t topple over into the street. His cat waits with him winding in and out of the picket fence posts. I watch from behind the window as a humming bird darts in and out of the flowers in the forefront with the back drop of my son, my much larger son. He gasps as the cat departs and flits across the road. I watch him resist but impulse control is always a trial. I know he’d fall for that one:- ‘here’s a picture of my kitten, can you help me find him?’ We’ve talked about it with all of them but there will always be a new line of temptation for the unwary. Children by their very nature are unwary. Parents see them grow and learn, we are wary, worried and watchful because we need to nurture their independence without paying a higher price. He vaults into a victory dance, opened mouthed silent yelling as the bus pulls in.

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Foot falls and other mis-steps

Let me say first, that that table is nearly as old as I am. The chairs are more rickety so we bought half a dozen sturdier versions to supplement. American chairs that mingle quite happily with their South African cousins. They’re a mis-match like just about everything else around here. We have enjoyed living in this house for nearly 10 years now, so we know all of it’s pitfalls.

It was baby proofed for a while but our efforts were never foolproof with our particular set of children. There were no substitutes for constant supervision. Nonetheless our children have survived and indeed flourish, but it never pays to be too complacent.

Just as we come to believe that we have seen everything and know all things that are knowable, a plaintive voice will squeal, “mom! Can you get me outta here?”

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