And Then Your Heart Breaks

Yes, this is supposed to be a blog about the social and marketing trends that impact moms. Sometimes, however, I have to speak simply as a mom,  not a marketer, with a mom’s reaction to what goes on in the world.

Earlier this week, an 8-year-old child, Leiby Kletzky, was abducted and killed in New York City. It was his first time walking home alone from day-camp — all of seven blocks. According to the news coverage, he had begged his parents to allow him to do that. His parents, yielding, rehearsed the route with him until they were satisfied he knew the way. And then, on that first day, he apparently became lost and was “befriended” by a man — a member of the local community, a neighborhood considered one of the safest in the city — who later killed him.

For those of us who have been around for awhile, this brings back memories of another crime that shocked our city: the abduction and disappearance of Etan Patz  in 1979. Etan was 6 and disappeared after being allowed to walk to the school bus, just two blocks away. For the first time.

So what does this say? Not that New York is an unsafe city — our crime rate has plunged dramatically over the years, to the point where parents believe that the streets are safe. What it means is that every parent has to make decisions, over and over again, about how much freedom to give a child, and when, and sometimes, sometimes those carefully made choices are disastrous.

I remember, when my son was young, expecting to walk him to school throughout Middle School. That lasted about a week, as did similar plans among  his classmates’ parents  (Mom! You don’t have to walk me! I’m in Middle Schoo!), although the worry continued. What if? What if?

The point of this blog: to share the angst of trying to make the right decision for our children, and the grief when it goes horribly wrong.