Thursday, August 16, 2007


I've been involved with some iteration of the Big Brother/Big Sister program for almost 20 years. (Man, does that make me old or what?) I'm on my third "little" and she is delightful.

Before I had kids, I had no fear. I'd walk through horrible neighborhoods in DC, letting my 8 year old companion steer me away from the street corners where she knew the drug dealers worked most often. Occasionally, she'd see something she didn't like, and we'd duck into an alley and come out on another street. She was street-smart, that kid. I don't recall ever feeling scared.

Now, almost 20 years later, and living in the relative safety of the MidWest, I have discovered fear. When I dropped my Little off last night, I was scared. To get to her apartment, I had to walk through a group that, to me, looked like a gang. They had a nice car in a part of town where no nice cars really are. They were calling each other "nigg@rs" and "bitches" and had at least 10 cellphones between them. They also had baseball bats and a lot of really nice jewelery. I took a deep breath, walked through, dropped her off, and walked quickly back to my car, thanking god I had left the kids at home this time.

Am I turning into one of those racist wimpy middle-aged mothers who are afraid of everything? Or has motherhood changed my fear-o-meter?

Hopefully, I'm just over-reacting and being silly and seeing things where none exist.

But her father is in jail, and we aren't sure exactly what for.

Laura at 11D wrote today about the rise in urban violence

I don't know if you can blame it solely on parenting. I know that my Little's mom is just as good a mom as I am. She just has no job, 5 kids, no husband, and (possible) gangs outside her apartment. I think that if we can fix poverty in this country, we can fix violence.

The catch-22 is that where there is poverty, there is violence. And for me, a new-found fear.


Diva Mom Vicki said...

Motherhood changes the fear-o-meter. It's the overwhelming fear of leaving your children without a Mother should something happen to you. It's the instinct of self-preservation now that you have little ones who also need protecting.

Oh, The Joys said...

I don't know the answer, but I'm glad you're there for her pushing through your fear.