So, I thought I would try something new this morning. I decided to test the responsibility of my nine-year-old-going-on-forty-year-old and leave her home alone with the kids while I ran around the block over and over. Now, granted, I had timed myself and I knew that I would be passing the house every 4 minutes and 10 seconds, but I was still worried. Nonetheless, I decided I would give it a try for 30 minutes. The kids were all still asleep, what could really go wrong? Right?
So, I strapped on my running shoes, put in my iPod, and started my jaunt. Now, I knew deep inside that the kids were all sound asleep in their beds. I had locked the bolt lock behind me and I had my keys in my hand. But, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was going to happen while I was gone. Maybe Claire would have a nightmare and wake up screaming. Audrey would have to wait a full 4 minutes and 10 seconds before I could get there to comfort her! I kept running, but now I figured I would limit my run to 25 minutes.
Then, as I continued to run past a neighbor's house, their sprinkler splashed my ankles. A fresh thought came to mind: What if for some reason the house randomly flooded? A lot of damage could happen in 4 minutes and 10 seconds! I kept running, but decided that 20 minutes might be more realistic.
As I kept running, listening to a little Imogen and feeling the wind blowing on my face, a new thought came to my mind. What if all of a sudden this wind gets really strong and blows a tree over onto my roof? What if my kids are pinned under it and they can't breathe for 4 minutes and 10 seconds? A lot of brain damage could happen in that amount of time!
I rounded the fourth corner and came into sight of my house. Okay, things looked good. Audrey wasn't peeking out the front window waiting for my arrival, so maybe I can make another lap, but I think I will cut my run to fifteen minutes instead. That seems more realistic for the first time of her being in charge. I continued to run.
Then, a new thought came to mind as my lungs finally gave out on me and I started to walk. What if someone breaks into my open-a-crack front window?! At that very moment, some stranger could be trudging through my home, searching for expensive items to steal (which he wouldn't find) or yummy food to eat (which he also wouldn't find). Or, maybe he was looking for innocent children to kidnap who have been left with their nine-year-old-going-on-forty-year-old sister by a mother who cares more about running than protecting her children!!!! Those he would have found! I sped up my walking.
I looked down at my time keeper and realized that I was almost at 10 minutes. I think that would be enough for the day. I came around that final corner to my house, standing quietly, bolt lock still locked, children still sleeping peacefully. Ah, justification, it's a good thing. Next time, I will do fifteen minutes, I think. But, for today, my daughter is still not quite ready to watch her siblings by herself for very long, right? Right? Or, is it me who's not ready for her to be ready? Either way, ten minutes felt like a hundred. Baby steps.