Monday, July 04, 2005

American Hero

Thank you, Amber
Thank you, Amber Dean.
Working the graveyard shift at Denny's must really suck.
But I'm glad you were there.

I cried so hard when I read this. Before my son was born, missing child stories upset me. Once I became a mom, they kept me awake at night. Seriously. I know that most child abductions are due to custody interference, but there's always that fear.

All parents have fears of their child being abducted, but at the same time live in that "It can't happen here" state of mind. It happens to other kids, in other states. Our kids are safe. We know where our kids are.

When we hear of a missing child, we start to compare our lives to the parents.

It's shameful, but true. It's a internal talisman to keep our kids safe in our own minds, because the reality that it could happen to our kids is just too horrifying. We don't tell anyone that we are comparing ourselves to those other parents, because that would be victim-blaming. That would be horrible. That would make us bad people. But quietly, internally, we do. To keep our kids safe, at least in our own minds.

"They hired a homeless handyman. I'd never do that. My child is safe."
"They were swingers. I'd never do that. My child is safe."
"They let their kid walk to the park by himself. I'd never do that. My child is safe."

These shameful horrible thoughts we keep in our heads, to save us from being that mom or dad on CNN. Crying, holding pictures of their missing child, a huge chunk of their soul cut out and missing, bleeding emotionally in front of Paula Zahn, their entire life laid out before us, the "good" parents, who compare them to ourselves, in the hope it will keep our kids safe.

They took drugs, they drank, they partied.
They breathed.
It can't happen here. It can't happen to us.

The fear doesn't stop when they are teenagers, either. Actually it gets worse then. They are on their own so much. They close out huge areas of their lives to you. You snoop, and you pry, and you question, and you hack, and you drill. But no matter how much you snoop, pry, question, hack, drill, they keep a part of themselves separate. They have friends you don't know about. You hear a name mentioned in passing.

"Who is that?"
"A friend."
"Where did you meet him?"

And you fear. It's something you hold onto, and something that creeps in every time they go out. Everytime you see them chatting online. No matter how old they are, you worry.

And, even though you hate yourself for it, you compare, so it will never happen to you.

Until one day, God forbid it does, you pray there's an Amber Dean out there. Some bone-tired exhausted mom working the graveyard shift. Probably putting up with loads of crap from the customers. Who had to do that mom work before her shift, and probably is coming home to more mom work afterwards. But who still takes the time to look twice, to notice something's off, something just doesn't feel right. And goes that extra step.

I hope there's an Amber Dean out there for
Dylan too, where ever he is. And if any of us ever need her, I hope there's a Amber Dean on our side as well.


Blogger The Human Quilt said...

Hello, my name is JJ. I was looking through some blogs and I think you might like a blog I am starting up. It’s called The Human Quilt. The Human Quilt has a goal of sharing the lives, expressions, emotions, memories, secrets, and desires of people across the globe. Share your story in a square. Each square tells the story of a life. I would greatly appreciate it if you take a look and give me some input. Thanks a lot.

3:10 PM  
Blogger The Wellness Buzz Blog said...

Hi Neighbor!
Your posting on Child Abduction "REALLY" Touched My Heart, on so many levels -- Powerful writing!
I look forward to stopping by again to see how your blog evolves.
Warm Regards,
New York

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7:38 PM  
Blogger jane said...

What a beautiful & appropriate tribute to a REAL hero! Nowadays people use 'hero' for just about anybody. But that waitress really is a hero, no question about it. The fact that Shasta is alive is a miracle, I'm so happy & so sad for her. I'm glad she & her dad have each other.
Well written!

8:27 PM  
Blogger WarpedTourMom said...

Thank you Charles, and I'll be dropping by your neck of the woods as well.

And thank you as well, Jane. I'm both happy and sad for them too.

7:09 AM  

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