Monday, October 22, 2012
Monsters Under the Bed?
Remember when the "monsters" were under the bed??
A little history...
When I was 11 years old, living in Newbury Park, CA, there was a killer on the loose who was breaking into homes, late at night and killing its occupants. The story was all over the nightly news...And I remember police and reporters urging people to lock their windows and doors....
But to me...This was just news. Nothing was going to happen in OUR neighborhood!
I remember getting dressed, and having cereal for breakfast. Step-mom pushing us to hurry up so we weren't late for school.
I opened our front door, to a swarm of police cars, fire engines, and 2 ambulances. I slowly walked out onto my porch and watched a scene I never thought I would ever see. My very first thought, was that a movie was being filmed....But there were no cameras....No movie crew.
My brothers piled out of the house and stood with me on the porch...Just watching.
There was blood on the front porch of our neighbors house and people running in and out. My brothers told me that this HAD to be fake and ushered me in to the car.
I went to school that day...Believing that what I saw was INDEED fake.
It wasn't until THAT afternoon when I arrived home....and the police and investigators were still at the house....That I thought something really bad happened.
We were told to stay inside our homes.
That night on the news....The reporter stated that the serial killer had "struck again"...and images of my neighborhood were shown. I was confused and scared.
I was so scared in fact that I began sleeping under the day bed, with the trundle pulled in beside me, so that I was totally hidden.
How could someone break into peoples homes? How could someone take the life of someone where they are supposed to feel safe and protected? I was so scared that this person would come back to our neighborhood and get us too.
We moved away a few months later...
Richard Ramirez was caught and put in jail....I felt a little safer.
27 years later, it seems the more things change, the more they remain the same...
With the recent kidnapping and murder of Jessica Ridgeway....I can't help but be extra protective of my children. It seems the schools are becoming extra protective as well....(which is a good thing) But where do we draw the line?
My 7 yr old son who is in 2nd grade has come home every single day since Jessica's body was found terrified that THIS is going to happen to him as well. (My children do not know of the above story, nor do I plan on telling them)
But this is how I found my son sleeping over the last few nights....
Under his bed, tucked away. He says, "Teachers say kids can even be taken out of the beds - so when the bad guys break in our house, they won't see me." This about tore my heart out.
We can educate our kids...WithOUT instilling fear in them. It's important we communicate to our kids the dangers of life, that we as parents do our due diligence and keep them out of harm's way. But it's also important our children feel safe, and not take on the stresses of adulthood before they are ready.
I don't know how long it took me before I stopped sleeping under the bed. One day it just happened. I hope Riker feels safer sooner than I did. It's my job to make sure of that - to ensure he learns not just to survive, but Thrive.