Natalie, we thought, was maturing to the point that we could leave her unsupervised in the house for a few minutes. We thought wrong.
by Kay Marner
Natalie spent the night with a friend on Saturday. She left around 5:00 Saturday evening. Don, Aaron, and I spent a peaceful evening grilling out for dinner, then enjoying a fire in our outdoor fireplace late into the night.
We slept late on Sunday morning. I was on the back patio enjoying my coffee Sunday morning when Don left to pick up Nat. A few minutes after he left, I went inside to take a shower.
I exited the shower to pure chaos. Natalie was home.
She’d gone to the basement storage area and found a big role of paper that Don, a landscape architect, uses to draw plans. She’d unrolled what seemed like miles of it throughout both the upstairs and main level of our house, and was walking, running, jumping, and rolling on it, as our cat, Smokey watched — with equal parts terror and fascination.
“What are you doing? Where’s your dad?” I yelled. I didn’t know who to be mad at first — Natalie, for the mess, or Don for not watching her.
“Daddy went to get coffee,” she said.
What was he thinking, I wondered, fuming, leaving her unsupervised?
When he got home a few minutes later, you better believe I asked him just that.
“I was thinking how great it was that she was finally to the point where I could just drop her off, and know she’d be okay,” he said, the irony of his statement as thick as the cream in my coffee.
I couldn’t stay mad. I knew just how he was feeling. For those of us in the parenting fast lane, it’s the hope of reaching those milestones that keep us going. We haven’t hit this milestone yet, apparently, but we’ll get there.
Natalie is 8 years old. I sure do hope it’s soon.