Different Childhoods

old swing set.jpg

My children and I had different childhoods:
They had play dates. I played.
They wore knee pads. I skinned my knees.
They held sparklers. I set off cherry bombs.
They had training wheels. I fell off.
They wore seat belts. I hung out the window.
They played on the computer. I played in the dirt.
They got vaccinations. I had childhood diseases.
They had safety plugs. I got shocked.
When I was 4 years-old I broke into a house up the street with my 3 year-old accomplice, Patty Burke. Patty was a follower. Her face never looked clean and her mother was always taking naps during the day.
We decided to visit our friend Jenny. But, Jenny wasn’t home. Nobody was home but we walked in anyway. We clambered upstairs, turned on the faucets in the bathtub and skedaddled home. The bathroom flooded and the water seeped through the ceiling ruining the cherry furniture in the dining room below.
My father had to pay the damages.
This is what I've been told. I don't remember any of it but I do know I must not have been missed.
When my kids turned two, I built a fence in the yard for fear they might run into the street. They slept with bed guards, wore non-slip socks and didn't leave the house without 45 SPF sunscreen plastered on their faces. I cooked what they liked and forgot to make them do chores.
I had too much freedom. They had too much attention.
I followed my own counsel. They followed the rules.
Is there a right way to grow up?