Friday, July 8, 2011

Protecting Your Children

Everywhere you go lately, you hear opinions on the Casey Anthony trial. While waiting in line at the grocery store, you see her face plastered all over every magazine People are upset that justice wasn't served, that Casey Anthony won't spend a lifetime behind bars, that she won't get the death penalty That she is going to walk away from this horrible nightmare and continue on with her selfish lifestyle. But what you hear most of all is the sadness in the voices of everyone, the sadness for Caylee.

I really had to distance myself from this case. I didn't watch it on tv. I didn't follow it in the newspapers. I knew the basics behind the story. A beautiful little girl was missing and her mom told lie after lie after lie about the whereabouts of Caylee. For 31 days she allowed her daughter to be missing and never had the decency to be honest about it. To me, all those lies, meant that she was guilty for something. First and foremost she guilty of not protecting her daughter. Whether she was responsible or not for the death, she didn't do anything to protect that little girl!

When Aidan started kindergarten he took the bus to school. I'll never forget the summer before he started. Aidan's excitement when the letter came that told us what bus he would be on and what time he would be picked up. Each day that passed my fear grew and grew. I can remember that September morning as though it was yesterday. Standing in front of our house when the yellow bus pulled up. Hugging Aidan as tight as I could. Taking pictures of him walking the steps onto the bus. It took a lot of convincing from Joe, for me not to follow the bus to the school. As the days passed my trust grew and grew that Aidan (and I) would survive the bus ride.

I wasn't prepared for the day when the bus would pull away from our house and 5 minutes later I would hear multiple sirens.

It was a snowy morning and school probably should have been canceled. After Aidan got onto the bus I walked into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. Joe was making himself breakfast while listening to the scanner. We started hearing sirens and I began feeling nervous. Then a voice came over the scanner that there was a motor vehicle accident involving a bus with children on it. My heart sank. I immediately started crying. The sirens were much too close and Aidan had just left moments earlier.

We ran out the door and headed in the direction of the sirens. As we rounded the corner, Aidan's bus drove past us, the driver waving to us as we ran trying not to slip on the snowy ground. Joe and I looked at each other so thankful that Aidan was ok. We discovered later that the other bus involved in the accident was just a small fender bender and everyone was ok.

Several weeks later, I received an automated call from Aidan's school telling me that he was absent from school and would need a note when he returned. Knowing it was a mistake I called the school to find out what happened. The school's receptionist told me that Aidan was not at school. I immediately felt as though I couldn't breathe.

"But he went on the bus this morning" I explained.

She sensed the urgency and fear and my voice and put me on hold while she went to the classroom. A feeling of guilt overwhelmed me. I had slept in that morning. Joe had gotten Aidan ready for school and on the bus. I didn't even hug him goodbye. I could feel my throat tighten as I realized that I didn't know what clothes he was wearing. The receptionist came back on the phone and explained to me that he was accidentally marked absent. After I hung up the phone I started crying. All that fear came out and I cried for close to 10 mins. In the days that followed, anytime I told the story to a friend, I could feel my throat tighten and the tears spring to my eyes.

I guess the point behind all my rambling is that a mom doesn't allow bad things to happen to their child. A mom reacts and protects and above all a mom loves.

Aidan sat next to me as Casey Anthony heard her verdict being read. I tried not to give Aidan too much information about the case. However, Aidan is an inquisitive child and loves to listen to adult conversations. Aidan already knew a lot about the case from being surrounded by adults over the weekend. When the not guilty verdict came in, Aidan looked at me ready with questions.

"Mommy, I don't understand. What happened to the little girl?"

If only all questions had an answer. If only we really knew what happened to that little girl.

"I don't know Aidan", I said. "All we know is that she is in heaven and she is an angel and I'll bet that she is trying to protect other kids."

Aidan nodded, "I bet that's a hard job."

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