“Aww Daddy…traffic. We’re gonna be late.”
“I’m sorry baby, we didn’t expect this.”
The little six year old sighed in frustration. But then her eyes widened.
“Daddy! There are police officers….and an ambulance.”
I looked and saw a grisly sight. A car had flipped over and hit a light pole…and a person was being put in a stretcher. My daughter could not keep her eyes off the scene.
“Daddy…there are people crying. What is going on?”
I had to think fast, how am I supposed to explain this?
“Baby, they are really worried about the person in the ambulance. We pray for them ok? Remember how your classmate hurt her leg…and she had crutches? She is fine now right? We just pray ok?”
I changed the subject to help her get her mind off the accident. But, my heart sank as we drove under a big flashing sign that read, “Amber Alert Child Abducted.”
My daughter looked at the sign and read it slowly….”Amber…..Alert….Child…Ab…Ab…Ab.” I completed it for her, “Abducted…the word is abducted.”
“Abducted, what does that mean?”
Geez, I was not getting any luck…another tough thing to explain. This was a real heavy car ride to school.
“Baby, abducted means kidnapped.”
“Kidnapped? Someone took a kid? Not a parent? Who took the kid?”
“I don’t know baby, the police are asking for help. They want everyone to know so they can look for the person who took the child.”
“Why would someone want to take a kid? They are little…they are only kids. Was it a bad guy?”
“I don’t know why someone would do that baby, but yes that person is bad. They are bad people. But, the police are working on it.”
My little one stared out the window…I could see the wheels churning in her head. Finally after what seemed like an eternity she said:
“Daddy…today is not a good day.”
I cringed. This was a lot of reality to experience on a monday morning. As parents, we have to lie sometimes. We tell our kids about Santa Claus…the Tooth Fairy…that the shot won’t hurt….that the medicine won’t taste bad. But, there are reasons for those lies. Santa Claus is magical…and the story enhances Christmas, they sit and dream about Santa coming down their chimney and giving them exactly what they want. What if we told our children, “Look baby…yes, the shot is gonna hurt, and you might bleed. And the medicine is gross.” Some parents choose to be completely honest all the time, they say Santa Claus is fake and the Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist. But, I can’t. So, we as parents have to give our children a little bit of reality in small doses. Bad things happen in this world….incurable disease…violence…war…death. But, I choose to keep that “world” away from my daughter as much as possible. She should have no worries. Her mind should be filled with unicorns, cartoons, and new games to play with her friends. Let us adults work on this world, let us try to fix it. I sat down in my usual spot at the coffee shop and saw the headline on my laptop screen:
“Boy found unharmed in vehicle.”
I was happy, I couldn’t wait to tell my little one that the good guys won.