My eldest child, Rebekkah worked at the same drugstore, in the pharmacy, and Caitie worked in the photo lab. What I learned from one incident there is that all of my kids have an alarming lack of self-protective instincts. Some would call it real faith, or courage, or bravery. Their mother thinks it will cause her head to explode eventually.
One evening, as Chef, my brother Ernie, and I were watching television, I received a call from Caitie. The store she and Rebekkah worked at had just been robbed at gunpoint!
Six young boys had come to steal drugs. Fanning out, the guys took up different positions in the store, and using guns they had forced everyone to lie on their stomachs. Then, one of the boys had gone to the pharmacy located towards the back of the store, demanded the narcotics, flashed his gun, and jumped over the counter…only to have the pharmacist pick him up and bodily throw him back out again. I still laugh when I think of that. The surprise of having not succeeded in intimidating the middle-aged pharmacist, and instead, being bodily lifted and thrown over the counter like some kind of rag doll, was too much for the young thief’s brain to process, and he panicked, running out of the store while calling for the others to follow, and they jumped into a waiting vehicle, and made their speedy get-away.
They left empty-handed, somewhat humiliated, probably frustrated, and caught on tape. Rebekkah, who was a pharmacy technician, had just gotten off her shift, and actually passed the group of men as they were walking into the store on her way out to her car. Caitlyn, though, was right there at the front of the store, and when everyone was ordered to lie on their stomach, Caitie decided she was going to lie on her back instead, so she could memorize as much as she could about the gunman. Oh Sweet Mother of God!! Sure enough, on the news, they played back some of the security footage, and there was my youngest child on the ground staring up at a man holding a gun pointed at her. Staring!!! She wasn’t even trying to hide the fact that she was looking right at him the whole time.
I still cringe when I think about that film footage.
Being a hyper-vigilant, freak-out kind of mother, I instantly felt sick to my stomach while listening to the details she was giving me. Sensing I was probably close to flipping out completely, Caitie assured me that I did not need to come up to the store as the police were there taking a report from all the witnesses, and that no one had gotten hurt.
“Don’t worry, Mom! I’m fine…No one got hurt, and it was over in just a few minutes.The police are here now, and I’ll be home soon. Please don’t worry! Really, it is all okay!!,” she assured me, in an alarmingly calm voice.
I remember how my whole body began to shake, and I instantly began to thank God that she, and Rebekkah, were safe. The whole thing seemed surreal.
Sure enough, Caitie came strolling into the house not too long after the phone call, somewhat high on adrenaline, cheerful, and feeling kind of awesome. I had half been expecting to have to comfort my youngest daughter, but her cavalier attitude took me by surprise; though really, it shouldn’t have. By this time, I’d experienced my kids’ penchant for being brave in situations that I really would rather they’d have been cowardly in. When she told me about her decision to lie on her back instead of her stomach, and then actively memorizing the gunman’s features, and how the police were impressed with her ability to recall some identifying markers, all I could think was how angry I was getting at Caitlyn! Seriously. Why couldn’t she just have done what the gunman had told her to do and minded her own business? Let the cops do their job. Don’t be a hero. Don’t draw any attention from the bad guys..A million other Mother-Wisdom’s came pouring out, and I knew every last one of them was worthless. My kids simply are not cowards. What I consider careful and prudent, they consider cowardly.
Fear isn’t something any of them seem to have in any great quantity. They seem to just expect things to work out in their favor. And while I know that when it comes to my own bodily safety and security, I am exactly the same way, it is unnerving that my kids have followed in my reckless foot-steps. I seriously can’t wait for them to become parents just so I can laugh when they all freak out about their own kids!!
Despite all the advice and lecturing I’ve given my kids throughout the years, they have consistently disregarded the parts of those diatribes that reference protecting themselves above everything and everyone else.
My kids have pulled over in the middle of the night to help strangers in broken down cars. They’ve given questionable people rides in their cars. They’ve answered the door to strangers, and they’ve been entirely too open about their lives to people who I’m sure could have proven to be stalkers. And when, over the years, I point-blank asked them why they were trying to make their mom’s head explode, their answers were all somewhat the same. They want to help people because God told them to in the Bible. Do unto others, and all that.
“Remember, you never know when you will be helping an angel”, one of them popped off cheerfully. Yeah, I thought, but 99% of the time, it is probably not an angel…
As a Christian, I am very proud of them. As a mother, I’m thinking the angel-thing isn’t a good enough reason to risk their precious little necks. But I have learned by now, my kids can be lead to water, but nothing is going to make them drink unless they decide to do so themselves. Stubbornness is another family trait we all share.
As I am now embarking on learning to truly and honestly trust the Lord with the important stuff in my life, I am actually putting in His hands more than my husband today. I’m trusting Him with the safety and security of my three somewhat reckless, obviously head-strong, but nevertheless well-intention-ed kids. They are all adults now, each embarking on their own adventures and experiences. I have moved from being a protective parent to more of a concerned adviser in their lives, and there isn’t much more that I can do other than to trust that God’s will be done in each of their lives.
Well, that and cyber-stalk their every move… :-)