A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Many young children are afraid of monsters - the monster under the bed, the monster in the closet, monsters cast by shadows in the darkened room. When I was younger than my DD is now, my childhood terror was the overhead light - we lived in a ground floor apartment and lights from the parking lot cast shadows that made the light appear to move toward me. I hid under my covers while my childish imagination put visions of fired laser blasts at me, like some alien spacecraft. And to this day I vividly remember a nightmare about being chased by a double-belled alarm clock that swung down a hall toward me like a pendulum-axe from some black-and-white horror movie. Of course, I laugh now at the dream, but these were what terrified me as a young child.

As a mother now, I find I am afraid of monsters again. But this time it is not the closet monsters, a la Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc., but the real monsters in our midst.

The monsters that prey on small children and do unspeakably evil things.

The monsters that blow up commuter trains during rush hour.

Unfortunately these monsters don't transform into discarded clothes when you turn on the light. And you don't know they're there until it's too late. These are the monsters that scare me now. It's not myself I fear for, but my family. And even taking the most extreme precautions can't guarantee that the monsters don't get them. I never felt so helpless as I did on 9/11, and some of that helplessness came back today when I heard about the bombings in London.

I hear about terrorist attacks, or about the seeming epidemic of child abduction/murders, and I wonder what kind of world I brought my DD into. I'm torn between the need to keep my family safe, and the need to let them grow, and it's a very tough call.

When I was my DD's age, I'd go out to play in the neighborhood and not put in an appearance til dinnertime. Yet I live in a more upscale neighborhood than I grew up in, and I don't let my DD play outside alone. When we're outside our home I rarely let her out of arms reach. On one hand I know I'm being a bit overprotective, but on the other I know there are a lot of sick bastards out there, and I don't want to be the one plastered all over CNN while I grieve and search for my precious child. I know it frustrates DD, who would love to just run about and play, and be a kid. Where do I strike the balance?

Terrorists I can do nothing about, so the best I can do is to live my life as normal. But like predators, they are the monsters that hide among us.

I know it's unChristian of me, but I find it very difficult sometimes not to wish death or worse on those that abuse children, and it infuriates me because so many seem to be repeat offenders. I can't even *begin* to fathom how these people think...

And for the terrorists...well, like the old joke goes, I hope there are 72 Virginians waiting there for them in eternity.

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