When can you leave your kids home alone? There’s no simple answer, but we’ve been testing the waters for a little while. We’d let them stay by themselves while we ran to the grocery store or went out for an actual run. During these trial runs, the kids didn’t kill each other or even cause minor bodily harm. That gave us the confidence to try a dinner out with the oldest in charge. She’s as bossy as it gets, so she was relishing this responsibility.
We filled their bellies with In & Out burgers and fries, told them to be nice to each other, quizzed them on our phone numbers, double checked the doors were locked, and took off. I hadn’t even sat down in the car when my cell phone rang. Yep, they had my number seared into their brains. On the other end, I didn’t hear any tears, just giggling by Erin. Then I heard Olivia in the background yelling, “No talking on the phone while you’re eating dinner!” I wonder where she learned that. We finally made it out of the driveway, drove to the restaurant about 10 minutes away and sat down to eat before 6 p.m. Less than 90 minutes later, we were back home. We quietly unlocked the front door and only heard the sound of the T.V. All three were lying on the couch contentedly watching a movie. It worked!
I’ve waited for this moment for a long time. While waiting, I often wondered if it would make me bittersweet. In a word? Nope. Not even a little. I was just as ready as they were. I still don’t think we’ll be taking a long leisurely dinner in the city anytime soon, but a quick bite out at a neighborhood restaurant will be happening again in the near future…. with the kids home alone.