Today after making our daily Target run, I found myself exhausted. Not because my kids were running around or throwing fits. But because I was constantly looking around, anxious and worried.
I have said before that Oliver loves to help. So naturally, he always wants to help me push the cart in the store. Which would be perfectly fine, if the kid also wasn’t as slow as a turtle and a huge space case, as any two year old is. Every minute I’m having to tell him to hurry up and stay with me. Every minute he sees something new that he has to go touch. Every minute I’m terrified I’m going to turn around and he won’t be there. Throw in a newborn that sits in the cart that I’m constantly having to take my eyes off of, and now double that fear and anxiety.
I feel silly sometimes living in so much fear. But then another story pops up. Another kid is taken. Another mother is living her biggest nightmare.
I feel bad for my son, because I’m always having to nag at him to stay with me. I feel bad for my kids, because they aren’t going to grow up the same way I was able to. They won’t be able to go to the park by themselves. They won’t be able to ride their bikes around the neighborhood with other kids. They may not even be let out of the house at the rate things are going.
But that’s not even the worst part.
I’m also living in fear for MYSELF.
Because it’s not just kids getting taken anymore. Teenagers are going missing. TWENTY YEAR OLDS are disappearing without a trace. My husband doesn’t want me to go on a walk by myself anymore. I don’t want to go by myself ANYWHERE anymore.
Growing up in a small town, this saddens me. Because they’re not safe anymore, either. Everywhere you go, you hear of the devastating story of another person missing.
And I have to raise my children in this fear. I have to tell them IN FEAR that they can’t trust anybody. I have to live with this fear that my kid is going to be the next one you see all over social media.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I know I CAN’T be the only one who feels this way. WE have to raise our kids together in this dark world. WE have to look out for each other, for our kids, for our lives.