But, we all know that in the real world, sometimes things aren’t as safe as we would hope for them to be.
Ten days ago, a young mother in a town near me went missing. It was broad daylight and it is assumed she had gone on her usual run while her young children were in daycare.
It was not in a ghetto or a scary place in any sense of the word. At least not to me. My Boy Child has a good friend who lives right down the street in a very nice home. I would have been more concerned about a mountain lion than a person, and that didn’t seem all that likely either.
She should have been safe to do that.
The woman is named Sherri Papini and when she didn’t pick up her children from daycare or come home that evening, her husband tracked her phone and found it near a trail she ran on. Her headphones were found nearby.
She was not.
I’m praying for her (because that’s all I can do) while my heart breaks for her family and friends, and most of all, her children.
I’m also sharing her picture and story in the hopes that maybe someone somewhere has seen something, and can help.
I’m also looking at our girls, and the girls around us, and wishing I didn’t feel fear.
All of our girls are beautiful, and as the older ones maneuvered their way through adolescence, I would sometimes worry about the cat calls, the entitlements that creepy men seem to think are ok to take with pretty young girls.
Thankfully, of the 3 of our girls who are old enough to roam, 2 are quite naturally talented with having “I will cut you” looks on their faces.
Some call this “resting B- face.” I call it very handy in many venues.
I don’t have any training in psychology beyond a few college classes, but in my life experience, if you look like you will punch someone in the throat or rip their face off, they are less likely to bother you, and if they do, it stops more quickly when you look capable of inflicting discomfort.
The other one of our girls has a much sweeter and less intimidating face by nature. While I support all of them having pepper spray and being aware when they travel, I feel like the other 2 could, and would shoot daggers out of their eyes and melt an annoying persons face with their glare before the offender had a chance to get within a 10 foot radius. But this one…. She’s more inclined to smile pleasantly, or my fear is that she would just be in her own world and not even notice creepers.
Last weekend, she went to a rap concert. One of her relatives was concerned that she would not be safe~perhaps because of the venue or the other attendees or perhaps because she and her friend looked super cute and this relative knows there are a lot of pigs in the world who think it’s ok to say or do offensive things to pretty young girls.
Anyhoo, as she was preparing to leave and lacing up her big clunky heeled boots, I was giving my usual “make good choices” suggestion. A younger sibling mentioned the safety concerns of the relative, and sweet faced girl says, “Pshhh...whatever…. I could just stomp them with these boots!”
She stood up tall and strutted towards the door and at that moment, she looked like she could and would stomp if need be.
I smiled, thought, “That’s my girl”, and sighed with relief.
I’ve never been more proud.
I already know that it’s a little disconcerting to feel happy that a kid could kick butt. But then again, a lot of things are disconcerting, like the fact that women, and in this case girls, are by nature vulnerable when they go out, but it is the world that we live in.
And that aspect of it sucks.
Of course we will most certainly do everything we can to teach our boys, and all the boys we around, to respect women, and expect that from them. But they aren’t the ones I am worried about.
In the same way we can and do teach our kids about honesty, we also still lock our car because not everyone is learning these lessons.
Each of us has the responsibility to raise the young people in our care to the best of our ability, and yes, that will slowly move the culture forward in better ways, but the reality is that there are still complete nutjobs out there.
No matter how much we try to impart the concept of respect, it would be foolish not to realize that there are freaking scary people in the world. While living in fear isn’t healthy, we do need to be aware of that.
So, with mixed feelings, and even though I don’t want to condone or encourage violence, I still sigh with relief when my sweet faced bonus child realizes she could kick an offender.
And I encourage all of us to be careful, and keep our eyes open and because relying on the rest of the world being safe seems way too risky for me.
Please also have a look at the flyer for the missing mom, Sherri Papini, and keep your eyes open. Her family is missing her terribly.
PS~ Just to clarify, I’m only happy that the kids can defend themselves. They know that stomping with boots is only for protection and never unprovoked.
How do you handle issues of safety and children who are old enough to roam? I'd love your thoughts...