The first story I read about a woman who had been followed through a store by “bad guys” in an attempt to abduct her children was in April. HORRIFYING!! It was somewhere else though; far enough away to make me interested but to feel detached.
Then the local stories started. And they kept coming. . . . .
I’m a first time mom so I worry about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. I’m also a mom to twins so not only do I worry about it all, but I worry about it DOUBLE!!! And as if that’s not enough, I’m generally a person who worries. Period. Combine all of that with stories now about local creepers following moms with their children and I was ready to stop taking my own girls out and live like we did when they were newborns: in our own bubble (aka the living room) and not leaving unless we required water (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture).
My “bubble” plan lasted only about a week before I started to lose my mind.
Now that we’d gotten to the point in life where I could run errands with them I couldn’t go back to cooping us all up at home. So instead, I’d do my shopping with a scowl on my face (to look tough and scare away the “bad guys”); I’d grip the cart like it was going to be pulled away at any minute; when I was loading the girls up I was scouting the parking lot for anybody sitting in cars. My shoulders hurt every time we’d come home from a solo errand because I was holding so much tension in them while we were out.
Then one day, as I was grocery shopping with my sidekicks another mom smiled at us & made a comment about how cute my girls were-I’d gotten this in the last month as I was out and about, but I tended to keep my scowl, slightly nod at the person complimenting them and rush past. For some reason, this time, rather than rushing by without engaging, I lost my scowl, relaxed my shoulders a bit, and smiled back asking how old her little guy was. I went about my shopping and had 2 employees move boxes out of my way and apologize then help me load up the bottled water I was going for. Finally, at the checkout where undoubtedly one baby starts to have a meltdown, as I was unloading groceries on the belt (1 hand still on the cart ALWAYS) a man started playing peek a boo (at a safe distance) to distract Mackenzie’s meltdown. Both girls giggled and it stopped me in my tracks. It was very sweet. Of course, I also had the thought flash through my mind that surely this was his distraction before he pulled my cart and my girls away from me, but I pushed it aside and thanked him. He proceeded to tell me about his grandsons (also twins) and how much he enjoyed being a grandpa to two at once.
On that drive home I had an epiphany.
There were so many helpful and friendly people there today (and probably many days). However, being so scared and protective had made me forget to see any of these good things and only search out the bad ones. Being so frightened had made me a little rude in the way I was rushing around and avoiding interactions or even smiling. And finally, it had made me forget to see the good. I’m glad people share their stories (although I’m sorry for their awful experiences) because they’re good reminders to be aware at all times. To be cautious. To be protective. And, to always go with your gut. BUT, I let the fear and stories take over and I forgot to see the good. I don’t want my girls to learn that the world is a scary, awful place that they need to always be wary of. I do want them to be cautious, but I also want them to experience the good, so I needed to do that myself. There’s gotta be a happy medium! And, lets face it, grocery shopping is a necessity so we have to be able to enjoy it once in a while.