Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sleepover in the hood

Sam's cub scout leader is a very nice lady (D) and I normally really like her. So I'm a bit astonished right now at what just happened. Let me back up a bit in this story first...

D called me last week to tell me that the boys' final tiger cub project had been scheduled for today at 10am. Steve is in the middle of the bad time of year for work with government deadlines looming. I had scheduled a seminar in Cleveland that my office had paid nearly $400 for. It just wasn't going to be possible for us to take Sam to the designated location for this final project and he would be unable to earn the patch necessary to move onto the Wolf level.

D graciously invited Sam over to her house for the entire day. We could drop him off in the morning and she would watch him until I got back to town at about 5:30. At about 5:30, she called to tell me that it would be ok if Sam stayed until the scheduled picnic this evening...she would bring him and we could meet them there. Oh, and Tim would like Sam to spend the night.

Wow! I mean, this lady is so nice. She has five kids of her own and she wants to spend two full days with my kid too (I wouldn't be able to get out of work tomorrow until late, due to depositions). I was so thankful and thrilled that Sam had made a friend in D's son (who is also in the same cub scout pack).

And then...

At the picnic tonight, Steve made a comment about how nice D's street seemed this morning when he dropped Sam off. She said something like, "Oh no...it's a terrible neighborhood." Steve then had to chase after Myles so he wasn't around for the next part...where D proceeded to tell me all about the many drug dealers who live in their neighborhood...how the house on the corner was raided last Monday and the cops were there for eight hours taking out drugs...how the neighbor girl smokes pot on her back porch and D can smell it in her kitchen...how D has an understanding with the parents of that neighbor girl that she doesn't care what they do in their own home, if D's kids can see it or smell it, then D will call the cops...how half the kids in the neighborhood are drug dealer's kids and the other half hand out with drug dealer's kids.

I hesitated giving Sam a kiss. And I walked away from the pavilion with what must have been a terrified look on my face. Steve, who hadn't gotten the drugland rundown, said, "Are you going to be able to sleep tonight?" And I replied, "What? With my kid sleeping two houses down from the one that was raided last week where it took the cops eight hours to clear out all the drugs?" I've never seen Steve move so fast in my life. "No...this isn't happening," is all he said as he headed back to the pavilion to collect our child. Never wanting to offend anyone, I asked him, "What excuse are you going to give?" How's that for idiotic thinking? This woman wants my son to sleep in the middle of the hood and I'm worried about offending her by saying no! I think I need psychiatric help. Thankfully, my husband is sane and he took care of it without batting an eye.

I am completely dumbfounded. I just don't know what to say. We believe in honesty within my family, so we did our best to explain it to him without scaring him too much. We told him it was ok to be angry at us, as long as we know he's safe we can handle him being angry. We told him we would never forgive ourselves, knowing what we know, if we sent him over there and he got hurt. I THINK he gets it...but I so with he didn't have to.

I long for the days when I was little and we had a whole neighborhood as our playground. We rode bikes up and down the street and we didn't have to worry about anything more than what flavor koolaid we'd ask for when we landed at one of our houses. My son won't know that life. He's had to grow up too fast in a lot of ways already. And tonight I'm just sad about all of it.

7 comments:

Lisa said...

That stinks but I SOOO would have done the same thing.

Choofy Mama said...

omg how scary, i'm so glad she TOLD you though, geez. and i'm glad i'm not the only one who is so afraid of offending people even when it's ridiculous ;) *hugs*

JEN

Michele said...

My heart would be beating fast and I wouldnt be sleeping either, BUT... Every neighborhood has stuff in it. Ours looks (and seems) great. I love it here. But, I have no doubts that in some of the big houses down the street there are scenes of abuse, drinking in excess, drugs, etc. Maybe even an escort lives there- I dont know! On the outside and even to those of us who live here, it looks and feels safe and wonderful. But I cant help but wonder who- and what- lurks behind the doors in private. Not that it is better that hers is happening in the open, but I think there is something to worry about everywhere.

Aurelia said...

Is it bad that I am so urbanized and so used to hearing about this stuff, that it wouldn't phase me at all to let me kid sleepover there?

And Catherine, if you didn't feel comfortable with it, that's fine, I'm not saying that you should or shouldn't.

It's just that really, as long as it's not the house itself, then the mom will be keeping her kids safe. You heard it, she was going to call the cops if she so much as heard or sniffed anything.

Then again, I'm just kind of cynical I guess because the biggest drug users I know of are always from the wealthiest fanciest neighbourhoods. They just drive to poor neighbourhoods to make their purchases. We have sex offenders in every neighbourhood and violent crime in every area. Even rural areas are overrun these days with oxycodone users and drug busts.

And yes, it could be completely different in your city. You'd know considering where you work!

As a way of getting Sam his sleepover, can you invite the kid over to your house one night? I assume you still like the kid?

Pipsylou said...

Wow, sounds like I wrote this part:
How's that for idiotic thinking? This woman wants my son to sleep in the middle of the hood and I'm worried about offending her by saying no! I think I need psychiatric help.

This post made me laugh so hard. I am not looking forward to the big sleepover debate. Actually, though, we plan on not allowing Lucy to sleep over at other people's houses unless it is a relative or a very very very close friend. If there is a sleepover for some kid in her class's birthday, she won't be going. I have a few freinds who were molested by the friend's father or older brother at some of those sleepovers. Better safe than sorry, I say.

You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing. It's just worth the peace of mind. Can you imagine if the 1% chance happened, and something DID occur while he was over there? I know you; you would never forgive yourself.

There is so much in this life we CANNOT control, you out of anyone knows that best...so I see no problem in keeping our kids safe in ways we can.

Kudos to you! And thanks for the laugh!

Kellie - Crew Advisor said...

Let me preface this by saying that almost the EXACT same thing happened to me with my son. It was even a tiger leader.

When I got home and called my mother and told he how we were almost killed in the hood (slight exaggeration) - she said (and I am NOT even kidding) WHAT part of this pisses you off? The fact she thought you'd allow your kid to stay in such a terrible place or the fact that you allowed your son to stay with her all day and hadn't checked the situation out beforehand?

Mothers. Gotta love them.

kate said...

Don't ask me, i live in the 'hood as you know!

You were right not to leave him if you weren't comfortable with the place, and it DOES stink.