The closer we got to the area, we noticed other vehicles driving slowly; apparently looking for the same house. There were three adults standing outside of a house — two men and one woman. I parked the van directly across the street and got out, as did the teens in my care. As I walked up to the house, hand outstretched, I introduced myself and then my son.
Before I could even begin to introduce my son’s girlfriend, the woman said to me, “You are the first adult to get out of your car and meet us.” I responded with, “You have got to be kidding?”
She said no, as did her husband and the neighbor. The two men looked rather athletic and were very capable of handling any 15-year-old boys or girls. She then told me that I was more than welcome to go inside her home and take a look around, and then she said to look at how many kids are in her home.
I walked into the home, a beautiful and roomy place with vaulted ceilings. The bass beats were rhythmically bumping off the walls and at least 30 teenagers were standing around, looking and talking to one another. I saw a lot of scantily clad girls and a bunch of sagging-pants boys.
On my way back to the van, the mom and I chatted, the dad told me what time the party was over and I assured him that my son’s girlfriend’s father would be picking them up. I wished them good night. He assured me that everything was going to be fine. I was comfortable leaving my charges at the party.
As I walked back to my van, I saw more cars pulling up. A car of four girls with an adult woman in the driver’s seat — probably someone’s mom — caught my attention. The mom had the car in park, engine still running, windows rolled up. The girls got out and went to greet the owners of the home and went inside. The mom never got out, and as a matter of fact, she had already driven away before her charges had gone into the house.
As I sat in my van, I thought: As parents, we have really fallen down on the job. In light of all of the crime that occurs daily against our children, there are still adults/parents/guardians who find it permissible to just drop their children off at a stranger’s house.
Does anyone but me see something wrong with this behavior, this style of parenting? As just a mom, I call on the other guardians to remember that we are the parents, and as such, we are directly responsible for our children and their welfare. We cannot continue to abdicate our responsibility and then blame others for what our children do.
We must put into practice adult caretaking behavior, for not only our sake but for the sake of the children we have been blessed to have in our lives.
• Yolande Barial is a mother and Tracy resident.