No Life Like It

Latch Key Kids

Growing up I was a latch key kid.

There weren’t a lot of us at the time. We were the children of the working class or single parents. We wore keys around our necks to ensure we didn’t lose them and when we arrived home at the end of the day there was nobody to meet us because they were working.

Being the child of a single mom in a time when there were few single parents made our family the minority. It was the early 80s when I started wearing the key. I was in Grade 4 and I wore that key with pride, in the beginning. I had a key to our house. Our home. Our castle. I was trusted and it felt good.

Now I can’t tell you how many mornings I realized there was a locked door between me and my key or the numerous times I misplaced it, hence at a very young age I learned one of the most important lessons that has served me very well throughout my life: resourcefulness.

I don’t remember the first time I forgot my key, but I can tell you it happened many, many times over the years. Hence, at a very young age I learned how to break into my house.

The lesson was not forgotten as child or teenager, over the years. As an adult I have locked myself out of my house a few times. But I have always gotten in. In fact I have been known to help my neighbours break in to their homes. Being a latch key kid taught me literally to find an open window when there was a locked door.

Today I have three latch key kids, while they are never locked out, they arrive at home to an empty house; there is no one here to greet them or ask how their day was. And today, being my youngest son’s birthday, I have had to look at the locked house and find the open window.

I won’t say I don’t have guilt being a full-time working mom, there are days I do. A wise woman once told me if you stand there long enough the guilt will go away, and, it usually does.

Although, I will be working a little late on number four’s birthday, I know it will be okay. I baked cupcakes and took them to school – he was thrilled. And, we will eat dinner as a family; just a little later.

Continued from Ezine

So as I struggle with my own children now being latchkey kids, I pray it will also teach them valuable lessons. Let’s face it I could have grown up to be a break and enter artist, but I didn’t.

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Cyndi Mills

Over the last 24 years Cyndi Mills has had the opportunity to move around the country with her husband, Scott and their four children. Having lived in Chilliwack, Edmonton, London and Petawawa. She stumbled into the world of journalism by accident – looking for a career that could give her the flexibility to work from home to be with her children and support her husband's military career. Cyndi is also a military parent as her two oldest children are in the military.

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