Saturday, June 26, 2010

Safety Town

Hey there-

Who out there loves Safety Town? We did!

In case you don't know, Safety Town is a program for four-year-olds that teaches them about safety. i.e. crossing the street, bike safety, what to do for a fire or if you are lost, etc. They get to meet Policemen and sit in their cars and all sorts of cool stuff. I think it is a national program but I am not sure.

Arthur absolutely loved it. He still talks about it when we drive by the playground where it was held. Every summer when he sees the familiar orange cones set up on the blacktop he, rather wistfully, asks me if he gets to go back to Safety Town.

"Nope," I tell him, "you are all safe now." (how I wish that were true, right? If Safety Town was truly all you needed to get your kids through to 18)

This year as we drove by and saw the little ones trooping around on their bikes with their helmets and the tiny stop and yield signs Henry wondered aloud why he didn't remember Safety Town.

"Because you never went," I told him.

"Why not," he asked. "Didn't you want me to be safe?"

"Well, you were four the summer after your daddy died, we didn't do much of anything that summer, sorry sweetie," I responded simply.

Flashing back to that summer I suddenly felt heavy and sluggish remembering the effort it had taken me to get food on the table or take the boys out the door for the simplest trip down the street to the park. I thought that was the only answer that was necessary, it explained everything.

"I remember we went to the zoo that summer and there was a HUGE thunderstorm and when we got home there was a branch from our tree in our yard and you didn't know what you were going to do but by the next morning our neighbor had cut it up and taken it away and it was all cleaned up," Henry told me.

"Oh yea, I remember that storm, that was crazy. That was so nice of Franz to clean that up for us."

"And I remember we drove a long way to a farm, I think it is my Aunts farm or something, and there were lamps that looked like elephants and lots of other boys and your brother took me to a place with rides and we kayaked on a pond and there was a shower outside."

"Yup, that was a fun trip."

"And I remember Grandma and Grandpa being at the house sometimes and Grandpa read me "The Kings Stilts" and he did that sack of potato thing you do with Arthur sometimes when I got out of the tub."

"Yea, Grandma and Grandpa visited a lot that summer to help. We have that picture on the wall of Grandpa reading you "The King's Stilts" that summer."

"We did a lot that summer," Henry continued from the backseat. "We probably didn't have time for Safety Town."

Does Henry need to know that I cried the night the tree fell in our yard because that one branch felt like an insurmountable obstacle as I stood in the kitchen opening instant oatmeal packets for dinner with tears streaming down my face? Does he need to know that my brother flew in to town early to drive with us up to the farm because without him with us I don't know if I would have had the courage to drive the seven hours to the farm on our own? Does Henry need to know that Grandma and Grandpa were visiting so often helping me survive and get the house in order to sell because I couldn't handle the house without his dad? Does he need to know that I wasn't even aware that Safety Town existed because I was too busy trying to remain upright and simply make it through the day?

I don't think so. All Henry needs to know is that we went places that summer, we had fun experiences, our neighbors were thoughtful and our family nurtured us.

Henry might not have been able to attend Safety Town when he was four, but he learned a lot about safety that summer. He knows that in the worst of circumstances he was kept safe and loved by his own little safety town made up of neighbors, friends and family. That has to be better than little stop signs and cop one tell Arthur.

Thanks for checking in-



  1. Does the heavy sluggish feeling ever go away? Just thinking back to last summer (for us) makes my chest heavy.

  2. I can relate to SO MUCH of this. xoxo

  3. Another wonderful post, Irene... thank you for sharing these stories.

  4. "Thank goodness that after six years square one doesn't last too long." Wow, what a powerful message of hope!