Balancing Safety and Independence

I’ve been thinking a lot about safety lately.

My son is ten years old. He is in the fourth grade.

He adores riding the bus too and from. Every afternoon his driver with the kind eyes tells me that Cooper hugs his bus aide. He adores people. Always has.

Cooper is a very smart boy. He knows the alphabet, how to search for ‘Hobart and Cosmo’ in YouTube, and how to do some addition.

He knows when his baby brother is being naughty and to use a paper towel to wipe up his applesauce when he spills.

He knows candles are hot and the scissors are used to open boxes.

But he doesn’t understand safety beyond that. In every essence he is 10 years old and doing 10 year old things. He has a mind of his own. But he also has limits in the area of safety.

I wasn’t fully prepared for how hard it would be to keep him safe from danger. He is fast and smart and curious and busy.

There is nothing stopping him from wandering out the front door. Or down the road to the mailbox. Or from wandering onto a dock or into a pond.

He wouldn’t think to tell me he was going. He doesn’t understand that sidewalks are safe and roads are dangerous.

Or that cars can hurt.

This is why we have three locks on every door. And a security system with cameras. And a fence. And alarms on the doors and windows.

It’s why I am always listening. And jiggling locks. It’s why our doors cannot be open in the summer.

It’s why I know where Cooper is at all times. And when I talk to people mid-walk to the park, my eyes never leave my son. Not ever.

It’s why I run and chase.

I want my son to have as much independence as he possibly can but I also have to keep him safe.

It’s a challenging line to walk. It’s scary and exhausting at times.

We practice walking and waiting and talk about what is safe and unsafe. And I pray that his dad and I can be superhuman at times, and for the rest of our lives.

Because he is getting bigger. And we are getting older. In a way it feels like the toddler years times a hundred. In some ways it feels different.

It’s so important though. We will keep him safe.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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