I wanted to have a fun fabulous post today, or maybe a great picture in honor of Wordless Wednesday. And if you've been here a time or two you know my favorite photo subjects are the kids. But I couldn't do it today. Especially not a kid picture.
See, right now in our little corner of Washington the big story is a missing child. Missing since Friday night from a small town, not much bigger than where we live. A ten-year-old girl who was just walking six blocks home from a friend's house. Probably done it lots of times before. Everyone is searching everywhere for her. Someone knows where she is.
Pony Girl went to her grandparents' house on Monday. They live down in town, small-town. Grandma called her to set the table and she didn't come. Grandma looked all through the house, outside, down the driveway. The girl was gone. Grandpa happened to look out the big window and there she was, riding her bike down the side road. When I sat her down to explain why she must never go outside without someone knowing where she was, and she needed to have someone with her whenever she was riding her bike, she didn't understand why. So we pulled up the story online and I watched her read it. Now, she understands. She's my age, Pony Girl said. What do you think will happen to her?
I didn't want to think about it. Thinking about it would be admitting that it could so easily have been my child, pulled off her bike while no one knew she had slipped out for a ride.
But as hard as it is to think about, we still have to talk about it, and keep talking about it, and try to keep her and Jones safe without being overprotective. That balance gets harder to maintain every time something bad happens "out there". I can protect their heads with helmets, their bodies with seatbelts and their health with vitamins and handwashing. How do I protect them against evil people?
7 hours ago