Monday, January 9, 2012

Farewell sanity... I knew ye well.

I used to be normal. Honest - I did. But the moment I realized I was pregnant, sanity left the building and a quivering, worrying, paranoid shell of a person remained. Okay, maybe I'm not THAT bad, but I am find myself being a bit of a hover mother, perhaps too clingy with my wee ones. I can't help it! I waited so long to have them that I just want them to grow up, healthy, unharmed, educated and street smart. When they turn 21 I can turn them loose on the world knowing full well that I did my very best.

But the world we currently live in scares me stupid. When I was young we spent hours outside roaming the neighbourhood, make forts and clubs in the surrounding woods, walking to the store unaccompanied and riding our bikes all over the place without a parent in sight. When I was 14, I saved my babysitting money so my friend Nancy and I could pull off a scheme so outrageous it gives me hives just thinking about it now. It cost $75 to buy a round-trip, same day ticket to Miami on Chalks sea plane. My mother would drop us off at the Paradise Island bridge on her way to work thinking we were going to spend the day at the beach with friends. Oh, no. We'd walk over the bridge, catch the 9:30 plane to Miami, take a taxi to the mall, spend the day getting ears pierced, seeing movies, shopping for junk, then take the 4pm flight back to Nassau, walk the bridge and be picked up by 6pm. We did this twice. My mother didn't have a clue. The horror!

You couldn't do that today (for many reasons including the facts that minors need permission to fly solo and Chalks does not exist anymore thanks to Atlantis). I know I was a difficult kid who was far too independent and ambitious for my own good and I see this in my daughter. However, should she ever deem to do anything like this I hope I'm still wiley enough to catch on and catch her before she does something mad and life endangering. My mother was a trouble maker as a teen, yet I still managed to outmanuever her on occasion and I think Cate will be able to do the same.

But still, I endeavour to teach her street smarts, how to act in public, not to speak to strangers, how to find a policeman/security guard, etc. Even then, I worry.

A friend of mine told me how her cousin had a heart-stopping scare over Christmas. They live in Birmingham and were out shopping at a mall with their 4 year old and a 11 year old daughters. The mother turned around for just a few seconds to give the younger daughter something and the 11 year old was no where to be found. She, like me, is a tad paranoid and thank God for that. She immediately freaked out so the mall closed all exits and started searching for her. 40 minutes later a couple with a child in a pram, covered in a blanket and wearing a hat were stopped. The woman was in a burka so when they asked to see the child she protested. the police were called and sure enough, once the took the blanket and hat off - it was the missing girl. They had injected her with something to make her pass out and had shaved her head, shoved her in a pram, covered her with a blanket and hat and were ready to wheel her off to a fate I cannot imagine.

This scares me stupid.

So I hover over Cate and X. I worry when they play too hard or climb too high. I watch them like hawks regardless of where we are. I grill Cate with what to do in case of an emergency and I don't trust anyone with my children (except my nanny and close friends).

And I don't care if I'm a crazy mother who screams down a shopping mall if my kid goes missing. These little terrors are the loves of my life and I would kill anyone who dares to touch them. Even after they turn 21. Hey, I'm a mother afterall!


  1. That story scares the life out of me. What kind of world do we live in that someone would even attempt that? Scary, scary.

  2. I can't make you feel any calmer about injuries and accidents, as the staff at our local emergency room practically know me by name. However, scary as the kidnapping story is, the chances of it happening to you are minute. I don't say that to stop you from taking precautions, and never letting your kids out of your sight while shopping, but the incredibly low probability might make you feel less nervy.

  3. Yikes! Must remember to frisk daughter/son for all spare cash in case they take off to Miami/Ludlow/village down the road.....

    When we moved here to 'middle-of-nowhere,' lots of london friends asked me if I wouldn't be scared moving so far away from civilization. Truth is I'm scared witless every time I go back to London (and I was born there.) The proximity of squillions of people and the percentage of those who will be weird really worries me. Being car-jacked by a horse, cow or sheep really doesn't feature here. Truth be told we leave our doors and windows open and cars unlocked. It's bliss.

    C'mon move out here with us chickins!

  4. It might help to ease your mind, if only a little, to know that this is an urban myth that has been circulating for a long time. There is no truth in it.

    Peter Bond

  5. That's a really terrifying story!

    You realise of course that even when you let them loose at 21 the worry never stops. My kids are now 31 and 29...I'm still worrying!

  6. I'm with ya on this!!

    When my daughter was 6 she was staying with friends for the day (they have twins her age) and my friend texted me to say the three kids were going to walk to the playground then when they came home she would drop my daughter off. I went crazy--the playground was on the other side of the village!! I texted back that I wasn't happy about that and from then on that family always referred to me as the helicopter mum. Oh well.

  7. Wow, this is an incredible story, they had really planned this -awful! Obviously it does pay to raise the alarm immediately!

  8. It's interesting that a quick search on Google shows no record of your story. I wonder why you didn't check it out before posting?


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