Recently, my girlfriend and I were talking about the things we used to do when we were little. Things we would NEVER let our kids do now. Like go on routine cigarette runs for her mother. At the time, I thought nothing of it. In fact, the liquor store owner didn’t even bat an eye as two doe-eyed girls approached the register. His fluffy cat was always nearby to greet us.
Looking back now, it seems crazy to let your child walk to the corner store by herself. It’s something I would never let my own child do. Mainly out of fear for her safety. That, and I could get arrested. The point is, times have changed. Unlike children who were raised in the 70′s or early 80′s, today’s children are no longer left to their own devices. They are not free to roam about as they please. Here are ten things I got to do growing up as a gen-X kid:
1. Eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast. I suppose this frosted toaster pastry was intended to jump start your day. How could I mistake a Pop-Tart for anything but wholesome nutrition?
2. Babysit. I was often asked to babysit my younger siblings. Though I tried to run a tight ship while mom was out, I somehow always forgot to lock the front door.
3. No seat belts. I remember my dad holding me on his lap in the front seat of the car. No one in my family wore seat belts until it was mandated by law.
4. Unlimited access to sugary drinks. I could drink obscene amounts of Kool-aid. And if that failed to quench my thirst, I could always fix myself a glass of Tang. Because, you know, at least it contained vitamin-C.
5. Play till the streetlights came on. All the kids in the neighborhood played till 8:00 p.m. We only came in for lunch and dinner.
6. Make-up at age thirteen. I thought my mother was the most beautiful woman on earth. I wanted to look just like her. So, I would sneak into her make-up bag and paint my face.
7. Listen to Madonna’s Like a Virgin soundtrack. I wasn’t even ten years old when her music was first introduced to me. And yet, I knew all the lyrics to that song. I had no clue what they meant, of course.
8. No sunscreen. My mom only packed baby oil for our trips to the beach. Apparently, she didn’t think we’d get burned.
9. Shoes were not required. I could spend the entire summer walking around barefoot. Fortunately, I never did. I was too afraid of getting ringworm.
10. Chores were not required either. My mom, bless her heart, did laundry for me till I graduated high school.
In spite of this laissez-faire approach to parenting, I’m still thankful for my upbringing. My mom had me when she was young and did the best she could under the circumstance. I wouldn’t be who I am today without those life experiences. So, thanks mom!
What are some things your mom let you do that would probably be outlawed today?
* * * * *