Sam was invited to a camp out with some people from the church down the street from us. A Father-Son Camp Out, and my visiting teacher's husband has said that he would be happy to take Sam on the trip (Sam DID ask Steve, but Steve couldn't because we have a family wedding to go to that same night). I have thought about it and talked to a couple of different people about it and what it all boils down to is that I can't let him go. I have always been fairly cautious with my kids, but since the CF incident I have become even more so. I don't know these people; I don't know anything about them at all, I haven't been around any of them even in a church context (because I don't go to that church, and in fact am trying hard to get away from it), and I cannot imagine allowing some man I don't know take my 10 year old son on a camp out with 50 other men and boys I don't know.
It is odd now, this new feeling of distrust. Well, in many ways it isn't new; I mean, I tend to have to know a person quite some time before I allow my children to go places or be alone with them (and in fact, it was probably close to two years AFTER CF and I became friends before I allowed him to take the kids anywhere or be alone with them even for a minute), so it isn't as if I blindly trust just anyone. However, long gone are the days when a church camp out seems both fun and harmless, a nice diversion for a son who could really use it. Because anything can happen. ANYTHING.
So anyway, it's gotten a little worse, because I know this: I know that predators can and do molest a child in a room full of people, in the stall in a restroom, in a fucking car going down the road. I know that predators like to gain the trust of a victim, even if it is a temporary, short term trust involved in, say, helping a shoe to be tied, wiping a tear, picking up a dropped backpack. I know that predators look just like the rest of us, that they appear normal and talk normal and SEEM normal.
This is why I totally lost my mind when we went swimming over the weekend. And it scared me a little bit. I don't want anyone touching my kids, for any reason. Don't lean down and help my three year old adjust his water wings; both myself and his father are right here and can do that. Do NOT offer to help my 10 year old learn to do a back flip off the diving board; that is why he has an older sibling. I flipped my lid at Steve when he told Sam, "Just go on in the dressing room and start getting changed, I'll get the towels out of your moms bag." "The fuck he IS going in there by himself!" I said, while Steve looked at me like I had grown a third eye and fangs. But that is how it FELT; this visceral fear, this gut clenching fear that someone else is going to hurt one of my kids. A little girl grabbed Owen's arm and was trying to help him down the stairs into the pool and it was all I could do to stop myself from body slamming her.
I have to get over this; Hannah's counselor says it is typical, normal, under the circumstances, and has given me and Hannah both "permission" to feel this way for now. I feel it as the kids' parent, she feels it as a protective older sibling. "If what you need to do to be okay is to make Sam go into the women's restroom with you, do it. If you need to call his name every ten minutes when he is playing outside so he can check in, do it. If for the time being you don't want to let him go into the neighbors yard where they have a ten foot fence? Even though he has gone over the jump on the trampoline before? Then don't let him." It feels nice to be supported in this, it feels good to know that this is normal, but it is also a little bit scary. I could so easily turn into one of those parents who just never lets her kids go anywhere. I won't, because I will work really hard to NOT become that parent, but man, it is a struggle.
Hm, this isn't the post I had planned, not by a long shot. But it is what came out, so I guess I will run with it. I hope you all had a wonderful three-day weekend. Despite my insanity at the pool, mine was pretty good; I'll post more about it later.