My oldest daughter will be 10 years old in July (her and my dad share the same birthday). Right now she is walking around the house in my sweatpants. They are far too large for her, so I tied them up in a front knot around her waist and rolled up the legs (she forgot to get her pajamas on before I put our youngest to bed).
She doesn’t realize that I am watching her stroll around the house with a smile on her face while she looks down at her newly acquired wardrobe. She is smiling in such a way that shows a hint of her happiness to wear her mothers clothes. I feel like I am witnessing a private moment between her and her thoughts. Like I am peeking through a door watching a miracle happen.
Over the past two years I have been reading testimonies of other mothers experiencing close call situations where their children are being watched close by strangers in public. These strangers have a title, abductors. Reading stories and watching videos of women testifying to both men and women approaching them at their vehicles, in Target, Sams, Walmart and neighborhood parks. Asking employees to walk them to their vehicle because they felt unsafe, like their lives were in danger. This is terrifying.
Keeping Our Children Close | the world can be scary
I am a Christian and I pray and talk to God daily. I do my best to not live in fear by communicating with my children as to why they cannot run off to the toy aisle, get a food sample or go to the bathroom by themselves. Our children cannot even go to the bathroom by themselves. We discuss how the world is a beautiful place and there is so much wonder all around us but to not be naive to the sin that also lives in the world. This has been heavy on my heart today, that’s why I’m talking about it now.
Today my two girls and I went to two stores together. On the drive over, I had a conversation with my oldest regarding how she needs to stay close to me. To always be paying attention to her surroundings and to let me know if she, at any point, feels uncomfortable for any reason what soever. I could see the impact this conversation was having on her and it broke my heart. I told her that the reason why we have conversations like these is because we need to have a plan and that if we communicate, we will be prepared if, God forbid, anything ever happens.
Knowing that there are people out there with a predatory mindset scares me. Im just being honest here. These are my children, my babies. I grew them, birthed them and maybe one day I will adopt (who knows). But to think that there are people out there putting together plans on how to take our children from us is a crippling thought. If I am not careful, I could really start to cry over this.
When I was attending high school, I walked home when school let out. This is ridiculous, but my childhood home was so close that a bus didn’t drop me off (even though a bus passed my house). One time, on my walk home, a man in a red corvette slowed down right next to me and asked if I needed a ride. When I didn’t answer him the first time he asked me again only a little louder. I turned my head to him, said no thank you, and kept walking. He insisted one more time, only this time he stopped his car. I could see my driveway only 100 feet ahead of me so I went full on sprint until I turned into my safe haven. The guy drove off, but this moment impacted me forever.
Keeping Our Children Close | the world can be scary
While some could say that nothing happened. It did for me. I felt unsafe, unheard and now as an adult woman, I feel angry. And this happens all of the time in many different scenarios too many different people around the world. I never want my children to go through this. I never want anyones child to go through this.
As a mother, my biggest fear is losing my child. The pain and the heartbreak that comes with it seems unbearable. When I watch my children play (or wear their parents clothing), I feel called to protect these years while I have them with me. I think that our biggest opportunity in combating situations like these ones is talking about it. If we all spoke up and talked about how we can keep our children close, then the likely hood of any one of us ending up in an abducted situation like this, goes down.
When we are in public, one of us parents is not on our phone. Most of the time we both aren’t. If one person needs to use the restroom, we all go together. If you stay together, then you aren’t an easy target. If I see someone following us around who is clearly not shopping, or what ever the name of the environment calls for, I look them in they eye so they know that I see them and that I am watching. If it is just me with the kids and I feel uncomfortable walking to my car alone, I ask an associate to accompany us to my car.
Some of you reading this might be thinking I’m worrying too much. My response to this is that there are other moments in my personal life that I will not share that have impacted the way I mother. Scenarios that were very unassuming. Situations that could have been avoided if I had a more inclusive family lifestyle.
When I look at my children I see everything. They are the only thing that matters in this world. I see the day that they were born. The nights we stayed up with them when they were sick. The silly dance nights where they show us their super cool moves. Family movie nights eating far too much candy and popped corn. Brushing their hair after bath time. Bath time. All of these moments create this ribbon that flows and intertwines, weaving precious memories that can never be forgotten. If there is one thing in this world that I will devote my life too, it will be keeping my children close because the world can be scary, but an informed and protective mother is even scarier.