"I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is all the difference." - Greta Garbo

In the early years, we were blessed with a cool/cheap triplex in an old house on Reed Ave. in Mobile - located in the up-and-coming historic district. It was choc-full of young families with kids - and I would allow my four-year-old to play outside all day, knowing the mothers up and down the street were keeping moderate supervision.

Times have changed. The current five-year-old is not allowed to sit on the front porch unsupervised. I have to schedule a "play date" or hover over her at the park. I walk her to class each day and pick her up at the corner every afternoon.

I don't even want my teenagers going to someone's house if I don't know the parents - FORGET about riding in a car with some newbie driving (that's the big grievance lately - Everyone Else's Parents strike again!) And the oldest living on his own provides plenty of anxiety in the wee-hours.

When I was a child, I would spend hours alone walking through the woods, running around the neighborhood with friends, riding my bike through the golf course near my grandparents' home. . . no one could have known where I was, but I showed up for meals and at dark, so it was okay. When I was fourteen, I rode all over Central Louisiana in cars with my friends and no one gave me a second thought!

I wonder what the long-term effects are of our kids having constant supervision. Perhaps, "Here we are. Now, entertain us!" is not so much an entitlement issue as a cultivated consequence.

And as for being alone, I haven't been "alone" in twenty years. . .but I think I remember that it was kinda nice every now and then. . .

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