For the moment imagine yourself as a parent of an 8-year-old girl. She’s gorgeous, happy, carefree for the most part but still needs to hold your hand for confidence or safety. Now imagine you let her go to a friend’s house, she’s been friends with this other 8-year-old girl since you moved into the neighborhood. She’s tolerant of this friend and an unconditional friend to her. Now imagine you show up at 5:45 pm to pick her up, to go home, enjoy dinner together, playing games and laughing. But no one opens the door as you ring the doorbell again and again and again. So you knock a regular knock at first, then more forceful and yet again very loudly. Now imagine the thoughts you would have as a parent, as someone whom loves this little girl with your soul. This is what happened to me last night. Finally the door was opened by my daughter and her friend, no parent around, none, zippo, nada. I can tell you what my thoughts were. Something has happened, something terrible has happened, they aren’t answering the door because well maybe carbon monoxide poisoning, or they have left with my daughter and haven’t told me, maybe they had to rush her to the hospital, why are they not answering?! When the door opened and my daughter looked at me, a moment of unbelievable relief escaped my mouth, I could breathe again.
I expect when my 8-year-old plays at a friend’s house, an adult will be in that home at all times. When I let my daughter go to a friend’s house I am passing responsibility for her safety off to them for an hour or two, her safety damn it. I don’t care if the parents look her way or not, as long as they are there to protect her safety. I haven’t figured out what I am going to say to them when their daughter asks me if my daughter can play, because the answer is going to be NO, not happening. I’m still fuming about this. My daughter is irreplaceable to us and for someone (a parent at that) to risk her safety and life like that, is stupid and of course irresponsible. She’s only 8 years old, dammit.