Thursday morning was more stressful than most. My two year old daughter, Baby J had been sick for the last few days and stayed home from her babysitters, but on this day, she seemed to be mildly better and as full-time working parents my husband (DH) and I couldn’t afford to take any more time off. So, with a heavy heart and a guilty conscience we dropped her off with her wonderful sitter at about 8AM and headed off to work.
Throughout the day I texted the sitter and was on high-alert in case she told me that Baby J had either
Fortunately, Baby J seemed to be doing okay, so I went for lunch and decided to check Twitter.
Suddenly, reading the news, my day turned upside down.
There was a gunman on the loose near my house and the school where Baby J goes to play twice daily was on lockdown. The street that my sitters house is on was shut down to traffic and all cars/buses were being searched. As the minutes ticked by, I learned that the gunman had been seen running down my street and that police has yelled to my neighbours to “get your kids inside and lock the doors!”.
Panic began to set in. I called my sitter who told me that she was home and Baby J was fast asleep unaware of the helicopters flying overhead and the armed police just outside her door.
In my my mind I knew Baby J was safe, but in my heart I kept wondering.. what if… What if the gunman chooses to hide out at the sitters house? What if he forces his way in? What if Baby J gets caught in the cross-fire? What if, What if, What if….
As time went on, 15 schools in the area were put on a “hold and secure status”; more and more police were called in; and I became more and more anxious.
What do I do? Should I pick her up? Is it more dangerous to take her out of the house? What if I see the gunman? (Well this didn’t really worry me, b/c I am pretty sure with the adrenaline rushing through me I could take him down… don’t mess with a Mama Bear!)
So, there I sat helplessly watching the news, praying that all would remain status quo.
After two tense hours, the holds were lifted as the police realized the gunman had escaped the perimeter they had set up, but this didn’t make me feel better. There was still a gunman out there, and I was trusting someone else to protect Baby J as I would. After work I picked her up and gave her many hugs and kisses. Fortunately Baby J never knew that this day was any different than the others. Ignorance truly is bliss.
Alas, out of this heightened situation is the dilemma that all parents face. You can’t be with your kids 100% of the time, you can’t protect them 100% of the time so how do you keep them safe? How do you live without being in constant fear?
I don’t have the answer…. but if you do I would love to hear it.
photocredit: Toronto Star/Rene Johnson