Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Kids Were Gone

You know the kind of dreams you feel trapped in?  I believe they're called nightmares.  And I had one last night. 

It was a dream which forced me to wake up my husband for comfort, check on my kids and shed a few tears.  It was a dream that caused me to remember that bad things can happen really fast.  One moment your life is "normal," and the next, your life becomes a nightmare.

My neighborhood, and the general NW section of DC has been experiencing what they call a "crime wave."  People are being mugged at gunpoint on the streets while walking home from the metro.  Homes are being broken into.  And there have even been a few cases of people being attacked and robbed after getting out of their cars in front of their homes. 

It has changed the way my husband and I operate on a daily basis.  He no longer wears his ear phones while walking home at night.  He has stopped wearing his father's watch for fear that it could be stolen at gunpoint.  I am locking our car doors as soon as we are all buckled in.  I am catching taxis home when I used to catch the metro and walk.  What really irks me is that I have given up my after dinner head refreshing evening walks around the neighborhood.  We have been told this is just a phase and once these guys are caught we will be able to return to "normal."  Although it will be a new "normal," as we have now seen what can happen very close to home. 

While I wouldn't say we are living in fear, we certainly have become more aware and cautious.

That brings me to my nightmare.  My kids and I were headed out on a park date in our car with another Mom and her daughter.  The kids were buckled into their car seats along with the other Mom.  I was about to go back up our front path to lock up the house when I noticed a few slightly dodgy guys walking down the street.  I figured it was broad day light and that I shouldn't be overly concerned.  I did lock the car doors, just to be safe.  I went in to lock up the house and set the alarm, which involves momentarily shutting the front door.  I set the alarm, walked outside, and the car was gone.  My kids were gone.  The Mom and her daughter were gone.  And the 2 dodgy guys were gone.

The rest of my nightmare involved panic, calls to 911, and the dark realization that my kids were missing.

Somehow I managed to escape the dream.  But I can't explain how real it was when I was stuck in it.

I don't know why this dream was enough to motivate me to actually update my neglected blog, but I guess I wanted to share it as a reminder that stuff can happen quickly.  Anyone who has lost their child in a grocery store, watched their child run out into a street or parking lot, or watched their baby fall off a bed or couch will tell you that.  Bad s#%$ can happen fast.

As you may have guessed, I will now be more cautious when my kids are playing in the front of the house.  While I am usually on top of them, there are times I have run into the house quickly to grab something.  And while I am not going to live in fear, I am going to step up our families security so I don't have to face any real life nightmares.

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