My mommy radar went off today.
I was shocked when it did.
Not just because the (seemingly minor) incident made my stomach fall into my shoes, but because it was so unexpected.
I realized that I have created quite a tiny little bubble for my family to live in.
Because they are always with me, I have complete control over where my children go, who they see, what they do. I completely trust our small group of friends. And I think it has made me complacent.
So what happened, you ask?
I am almost embarrassed to tell, because on the one hand it seems so small. But on the other hand, it has the potential to be catastrophic. And I don't know if I could live with myself if something happened to my girls because I didn't do my due diligence with them.
So here it is:
This afternoon, the kids and Aunt Martha were playing outside in the front yard. The two little boys from next door were out walking there dog with their dad and stopped to play for a few minutes. The boys are around Emma Jane's age and even though we have lived next door to each other for over two years, we still don't know this family very well.
But we know them well enough that if my kids are outside and they are outside also, we play together sometimes.
Anyways, the boys headed back over to their own driveway and Libby and EJ followed. This wasn't a big deal, because like I said, we have played in their driveway and vice versa several times before. I told Libby that she could play for 5 more minutes and then dinner would be ready. Then I went back inside to finish dinner and left John and Aunt Martha in the driveway.
But instead of staying in the driveway, both girls took off into the backyard, behind the tall privacy fence. Emma Jane came right away when called, but Libby didn't. Because she had gone on into the house.
Aunt Martha came and told me immediately. And when I heard that she was inside our neighbor's house without me, my heart skipped a beat.
Now I think that these neighbors are probably perfectly nice people. All of our previous interactions have been pleasant. But like I said, I don't really know them. And in addition to the 4 year-old twin boys, they also have a teenage son. And the worst part about this instance, their mother wasn't even home. It was just Libby and a house full of boys for a minutes. And my mind immediately went to what could happen in just a few minutes.
Now of course, she came out safe and sound and chattering excitedly about feeding their pet rabbit. But I still just felt uneasy about it.
I had a talk with both girls and made it clear that they are never to go into someone's house, even a friend, if a mommy isn't there. And of course, neither of them understood why. Libby even said, "But there was a daddy home."
I just repeated what I said and told her she had to trust and obey me about this one. But even though she agreed, I know she wasn't satisfied with my answer. I don't want to freak them out or make them fearful of men or think that everyone is a predator.
But at the same time, I want them to think everyone is a predator. I want them to be safe.
How do I do that?