Parents in my area are on high alert. There is a child predator on the prowl, with three attempted child abductions in the past 14 days. The descriptions of the suspect are all similar so it is assumed that these attacks are related to the same culprit.
I don't remember child abductions when I was younger, but now they seem pervasive and a relatively common occurrence. I suspect that the frequency has changed little and that our awareness of the attacks can be attributed to better news reporting. Everybody has a cell phone now, and access to the news is immediate.
I have been accused of being over protective. I don't let Robby out of my sight, especially when we are outside. We have a beautiful wooded backyard, yet he is never allowed to explore without an adult. He is only three (nearly four) and still needs supervision.
Unfortunately my "Momma Duck" protective behavior has not been received well by a little boy who is eager for increased independence. He yearns to do things by himself and relishes every opportunity to demonstrate "big boy" behavior. His pleas for independence have caused me to strike some compromises.
Robby has been allowed to play in the driveway by himself. Okay, he thinks he is by himself, but I am actually perched on the deck watching every move. The fact that I am not next to him allows Robby to stretch his "big boy" wings while he is still under my watchful gaze. I have also allowed him to walk to the edge of the driveway to retrieve our newspaper and to chat with his favorite neighbor, Mr. Bill.
Because of the recent surge in attempted child abductions in our area, Robby's independent wings have been temporarily clipped. This predator is brazen, trying to snatch little boys in populated neighborhoods in the middle of the afternoon. Our home is relatively secluded and set in a wooded area. I feel more vulnerable.
We are lacking the security of watchful neighbors in this area. The other abduction attempts were thwarted by the quick actions of neighborhood children. Robby is alone and is missing peer protection. I cannot fathom the horror of his being snatched. I don't think I would survive.
I trust Robby playing by himself on the driveway, but I find that I do not trust the rest of the world. If the predator visits our neighborhood and eyes Robby, I need to be able to protect him. Although I am mobile, I am still in the early stages of learning how to run and I would lose in a foot race.
It is during times when I feel vulnerable and weak that I hate being an amputee the most. I worry that he is more at risk because of my disability. I despise feeling that I may not be able to fend off predators because I use a prosthetic. Does having an amputee mommy make Robby an easy target? Not if I have anything to say about it!
Until this predator is caught, I am not letting Robby close to the road without being within arms reach. He is also not allowed to be beyond my grasp if a car, or an unfamiliar individual, is spotted on our isolated lane. In many ways I feel like I am being overprotective. I now watch him play in the driveway from the opposite corner. Robby does not like that I am so close, but I have agreed to be silent and that has helped ease the transition.
It bothers me that I have to implement these changes, but I will gladly assume the title of overprotective if it means that Robby is safe. I cannot run to rescue my little boy, so I must keep him within my reach until this predator is caught.
It angers me that this criminal is affecting my daily activities. It saddens me that I feel inadequate to protect Robby because of the limitations of my amputation. It frightens me to think of the dangers that lurk. I think we'll stay inside today, where I know I can keep Robby safe. Perhaps we'll bake cookies.