you don’t have to worry no more

by ck on April 17, 2013

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My Dearest 5YO:

I can’t believe we’re here again. I can’t believe it’s my voice apologizing to you for missing what happened, even though I was standing right next to you. And I can’t believe that I’m saying this again, but it’s still true and I hope you believe it: it’s not your fault.

It’s not your fault that that creepy man approached you while I was looking the other way. It’s not your fault that he touched your back. It’s not your fault that he hovered around us until we left the store and winked at you while I struggled with your sister. It’s not your fault that he followed us out to the car, squeezed between our car and the one next to us, stopped directly at your window and waved at you. It’s not. Your. Fault.

We’ve talked a lot about strangers, people who are just being nice, and being respectful to others even if we don’t want to. We haven’t talked a lot about being aware of our surroundings and our gut instincts, but now that we’re here, I want you to know that your instincts were SPOT ON. And whispering to me about it in the middle of the store took a lot of courage, especially since he was watching us as you did it.

Sweetie, he made my tummy feel yucky too. Even if you hadn’t told me what you did, I would’ve left the area as soon as I spotted him. There was just something, something I can’t explain, that made me uneasy about him. And you’re right, he didn’t “touch you on a private area,” and he might have just been “being nice,” but it made you feel uncomfortable. I’m proud that you identified how you felt, told me about it, and knew that the right thing to do was leave.

You did everything right. EVERYTHING. Most people are safe, and we don’t want to spend our lives fearing the ones who might not be. Instead, we stick together, pay attention to what’s around us, and always, ALWAYS tell each other what we’re thinking. Even if we feel like we’ve said it a million times before.

Thank you for talking to me about it until your tummy felt better. Thank you for trusting me to keep you safe, even though I feel like I keep missing things I should be anticipating and preventing. And thank you for letting me sing “You Don’t Have to Worry No More” until you fell asleep:

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I’m not sure which one of us needed it more.

I will be here/ year after years/ roll like waves to their shore/ You don’t have to worry no more

Love,
Mama

©2010 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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{ 60 comments }

Mama Zen May 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm

How frightening!
.-= Mama Zen´s last blog ..How To Ruin A Play Date =-.

Kristen @ Motherese May 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Ugh, I am so sorry that this happened to ONE and to you. I can’t imagine the combination of rage and vulnerability you must have felt. I am blown away by your ability to validate ONE’s feelings even while you sorted out your own.

And have I ever told you how much I admire your writing? Because I really, really, really do.
.-= Kristen @ Motherese´s last blog ..Random Acts of Courage =-.

Kelly May 12, 2010 at 10:28 am

I hate that our children have to be so aware of the “bad guys,” but I think it’s awesome that you have taught her to listen to and acknowledge those gut feelings. Too many women are raised to stuff those feelings down and paste on a smile so as to be pleasing and never hurt anyone’s feelings — yet we were given those instincts to protect ourselves. What a wonderful mama you are to encourage her to trust herself, and to trust you. Brava.

Gibby May 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm

ONE is the one of the most mature little girls I know. It might be weird for me to say “I know her,” but I feel like I sort of do. She is just as strong and brave as her mommy. It just sucks that this is how you have to find out just how strong she is.
.-= Gibby´s last blog ..Happiness =-.

Sara May 12, 2010 at 9:25 pm

ONE is amazing. I am so glad she is able to talk to you and feels confident enough to do it right then. We are struggling with an incident with a older cousin. I say “we”, my son and I. The other people involved, my MIL, my husband, the cousin, seem to all be fine. James tells me it didn’t make him feel good what the cousin did. I’m struggling and I am so glad you are sharing these conversations. It helps me in ways you cannot know. Thank you.
.-= Sara´s last blog ..Three Thing Thursday =-.

Brittany May 13, 2010 at 5:49 pm

great writing.

Casey May 14, 2010 at 6:32 am

God, this is so scary. My kids haven’t learned to feel uneasy yet but I hope they’ll be able to be as brave and strong as ONE. We have a grocery store manager who follows us from aisle to aisle quacking like Donald Duck and it freaks me out. I get that same feeling in my stomach, even though he’s probably only trying to be nice.
.-= Casey´s last blog ..Swim Little Fishy =-.

Syma K. May 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Oh I am so sorry you and ONE had to go through this. But just like you told ONE it was not her fault, I want you to say it to yourself too. It was not your fault, Cindy.
ONE is in my prayers, I hope those creepy people stay far far away from her.
.-= Syma K.´s last blog ..Being Mama – Hugs for little Duckling =-.

Keyona May 20, 2010 at 4:04 am

Poor kid. You are doing great. Teaching her how to deal and react to these situations is the best way to be there for ONE.
.-= Keyona´s last blog ..Everything I Hoped He Would Be =-.

faemom May 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm

This is what I thought when I first saw this: WTF? AGAIN? I’m sorry. That so sucks. And I wish I could come with you and be body guard because I can go from mom to bitch in 2 seconds flat and I have a mean-ass you-don’t-want-to-f*ck-with-me look.
.-= faemom´s last blog ..Things I learned this week 5/21 =-.

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