Keaton likes to write me letters. I like getting letters from him too. Sometimes he'll be right next to me, but will write me a letter to ask for something. Perhaps it's because he's timid, and it's a non-confrontational way to ask for something. Sometimes his letters will say "Mom, can I go out to the garage and work on making a shield?" or "Mom, there are no more pencils in the house. Check 'yes' or 'no' if you are going to get more." Most of the time, however, his letters are to tell me that he is sorry for something.
Yesterday afternoon, when the kids were done with chores and homework, I let them go outside to play for a bit. We have a longstanding rule, that they are only allowed in our front yard, during play time. The neighbor kids and their families know this rule too, and so everyone usually plays in our front yard. I do this because it's the only way I can keep my kids safe. I don't need them hiding out in someone else's garage, or corner of their back yard, learning through whispering words things that are inappropriate, or things I don't need my kids hearing from other kids. I don't have to worry about strangers or other adults, or big siblings of neighbor kids doing any harm to my kids. It's been our rule forever, and the kids know this.
On occasion, I'll let the boys ride their bikes around the block, and sometimes they can all go as a group to the school park and play (which is barely a block away). However, times like this require permission for each occurrence.
Yesterday, I told the boys they could rollerblade around the block (and they must check in each time they arrive back at the house), but after a little bit, Kennedy came in and said "Can I go to the school park too?" Apparently the boys had decided to go to the park without permission. I waited for them to come home (almost an hour later) and sat them down to ask them about their decision. "Did I say you could go to the park?" "What is our rule about playing in our front yard, and only in our front yard unless you have permission to go somewhere else?" "Did you make a wrong choice?"
So unfortunately, they got grounded, and they also couldn't go to cubscouts that night, which is a punishment that had more impact than just being grounded. They were devastated that they had to stay home from scouts.
When I got back from the church, Keaton told me that he had written me a letter. Then he kissed me and went to bed. I read the letter right away, and as I chuckled at how melodramatic Keaton was, it made me sad to think that he really believed what he had written. So I called him back up to talk with The Husband and I about the letter. Here is the letter, and what he wrote.
Dear Mom and Dad, (that part got cropped out when scanned)
I never knew we weren't allowed to go to the school park, but since I'm grounded, I'm grounded right? Well, I also wanted to tell you I'm the worst person in your life. -Keaton. P.S. Keaton Taylor Nunnelly, worst kid on earth. Reward: All the money on earth. P.P.S. I'm not going to talk if you send me to you.
So we had him come back up, and we explained that he isn't the worst kid on earth, but that he simply made a bad choice. Then we clarified that he did indeed know that he wasn't allowed to go to the school park (he agreed) and that he shouldn't go to bed thinking we hated him, but that we love him and are trying to teach him that there are consequences for poor choices.
He had remained silent this whole time, so I asked him if he really wasn't going to talk to me, as his P.P.S. indicated. He said "morning", so I guess that meant he'd speak to me in the morning. Then, with a hug and a kiss from me, and a tickle from his daddy, he went to bed. Then Heath and I laughed to ourselves about "worst person in your life...reward: all the money on earth" statements. Oh, these kids. We sure do like them, even when they get punished, and maybe just a bit more, after reading this letter.