Two parents, two 'Let Grow' stories

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By Cassandra West

Reasons to keep a watchful eye

After a late lunch of tacos Saturday on Lake Street, Christina Waters and her two younger children, Elaina and Christian, biked over to Scoville Park. Waters sat on a bench and watched them go around and around the park. 

After she'd had enough of circling, Elaina, 8, wanted to go to the playground. But Waters wouldn't be able to see her from where she was sitting. Elaina tried to convince her mom that she would be OK. The playground was only 20 or 30 yards away.

"I know Scoville Park can be a tough place to be sometimes," Waters says, after the three moved closer to the playground area. By that she means the park is often a hangout for various populations of adults that made her uneasy. She perceives  "It's always been one of the spots that the park district, library and village have found challenging, which is why, I particularly want her within my eyesight."

Waters says she would be more comfortable giving her daughter more range at Longfellow Park, which is in the neighborhood where she herself grew up. "My mom lives within a few blocks and we have neighbors that we know. She could go to the park with her brothers on their own." 

Waters is even more protective of her sons. "Particularly for my boys, 15 and 11," she says. "They're black males. I don't ever want them to be in a position where," she says, letting out a heavy sigh, "their integrity or character is misjudged so drastically that they're in a position that they can't get themselves out of." 

She has talked with them about her apprehensions. "It wouldn't do them any good if they weren't aware of why I felt that sense of protection and how it differs, so I had to talk to them."

Ranging afar: A road trip with friends

Fresh from graduating from high school, Mia Lucci, who recently turned 18, announced to her mom that she wanted to take a road trip to Canada with some friends. "First I need to get my mom's approval," she says, hopefully. 

Her mother, Susan, hasn't yet blessed the idea. That would be a big step for the River Forest teen, even one who spent four years attending high school in the city, taking the CTA, then driving herself on the Eisenhower.

Susan Lucci's approach to giving her three children (Mia is the youngest) more freedom has been to balance it for each of them, "really playing with that stretch," she says.

"What I do for each of these transitions is really feel them out for it. I don't want them to break and fail miserably, but I don't want them to be afraid of the world." 

Mia's still hoping that trip to Canada will happen.

SAY Connects is sponsored by the Good Heart Work Smart Foundation in partnership with Success for All Youth (SAY). 

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