Recently, I was reminded about the awful people in the world who take children from their families in busy places like grocery stores. Nothing happened directly to us, but it was a story that was circulating that brought those scary thoughts back to mind.
So, in my infinite wisdom... I freaked out a bit.
I had to go to the store with all three of the kids one day after picking up Josh at school. I told them that EVERYONE was getting in the cart today. Even Josh. Josh hasn't been a cart-rider for at least two years. So, I squashed my tall-for-his-age six year old in the back of the cart with his dear sister, and buckled little Owen in the front basket seat. And off we went. You would have thought there was a sale on cute children in aisle 8, and I had a coupon. After checking out we began our trek back to the van in the parking lot. I was chatting along with my basket of children, when a car backing out of it's parking space nearly backed right into us. I skidded to a stop (no small feat seeing that I was hauling around 100 pounds of kiddos) and shrieked a bit to get the driver's attention. She noticed us, and with an apologetic wave, stopped long enough for us to pass.
Can you say...irony?
Here I am trying to protect my children by hording them into one place, and in doing so, just about got them all bumped by a car in one fell swoop!
Yep, I was learning a life lesson. Right there in Me.ijer's parking lot.
So, I told my kids. I felt that my overreaction was obviously the wrong reaction and I needed to tell the kids why safety at stores was so important as opposed to playing the mother hen and hiding them under my wings. I was trying to avoid imparting this information about the sin in the world, but they are getting older and I felt the need to be honest, if nothing else. I am always vigilant when we are at the store about their proximity to me, but haven't really explained why, except to say it was safer. Oddly, they took it well, and even after Josh and I went to the store today (which I would totally NOT recommend on a holiday), a quick reminder and he said, "Oh, right mom, because of the bad people." Hand in mine, we chaperoned each other through the store sharing a physical reminder to all that we were together and not to be separated. He wasn't traumatized or scared, but now, hopefully, just a bit more knowledgeable. I, on the other hand, am not looking forward to more of these types of conversations. Only resting in the knowledge that the Lord watches out for us like He promises.