[“Ben Ownby” Found Alive]
I print off the email from the school and march into the family room for a serious discussion. It has arrived minutes after I have read about a “safety” programme in what is clearly becoming “the State” that is ahead of the hunt.
I give them the pertinent facts gleaned from the warning notice from the school, once I have commanded their attention. [translation = no mean feat! Perhaps I should have done this one-on-one instead?] I quickly find that I have taken on the role of game show host.
‘Silver Sedan car, white male with dark hair, ‘help me find my dog’ to one of the children at their school.’
A near miss for that child, who beat a hasty retreat to an adult. We cannot be as confident of a similar response.
“No a dog!” protests the superhero of felines. A group discussion ensues as the merits of saving various types of pets, but rapidly descends into a debate about species of animals. I corral them all in – back on topic. What would each of them do if faced with a similar situation?
Junior pipes up to declare that he would consider getting in the car if it were “golden” rather than silver. I suppress a sigh and sit on my hands to prevent myself from tearing my hair out.
Further talk assesses skin and hair colour. The colour combinations bear no resemblance to reality or racism, more Todd Parr. I am ready to lie down and die, because we are so far off track and nowhere near the real nub of the dilemma, indeed it would appear that no-one is even aware that there is a dilemma. As usual I have failed to take the time to think through the ramifications of such a topic.
My son back tracks to the make of the car, what exactly is a sedan? I am suddenly aware that I am not at all sure what a sedan is? Knowledge of cars is probably my weakest suit. I operate on a line of elimination – not a mini, not a lorry, not a minivan, not an estate. I know that I'm being cross continental, or maybe just cross, that my delivery only serves to further muddy the waters.
Junior is unconcerned with the type of car, but is keen to examine the potential make or brand of the “tyres” that any erstwhile pedophile might utilize. Grouchiness begins to overwhelm me as Junior quizzes us, as to whether or not 'see dan' is a compound word? When 'sedan' is broken into it's phonetic parts. This gives cause for his brother to point out that it is merely two separate words, the verb 'see' and the man's name, 'Dan,' providing further evidence of his aural processing skills and attention to his work sheets, where the character 'Dan,' features all too frequently for my liking.
I am ready to weep, but instead call for order in the house. Enough. Cease and desist! Attend to the matter at hand, namely abduction, which I refer to as theft. [of the person] I seem to be the only one flustered and frustrated.
Not for the first time, I have cause to recall that I often both mis-read and underestimate their abilities. Such an incident occurred when most of my children were permanently naked. [translation = no 'dressing' skills coupled with tactile defensiveness which made the texture of clothing abhorrent] I worried that they were unduly vulnerable, as they had no sense of 'modesty.' I was proved wrong during a visit to the ER, where my semi conscience non-verbal son, had a complete meltdown when a kindly female nurse attempted to “unbutton” his flies.
How come ‘stranger danger’ is so much more complicated these days? If they lured with candy, that would ensure that junior would be safe. [translation = the “neophobic” one] If the stranger sported an attractive bear T-shirt, that would mean my other son would be safe. [translation = “ursaphobia”] My daughter. I look at her giggling enjoying the fun with her brothers. Would “lizards” be her undoing?
I look at my rabble whilst my mind travels through the options of library books, “social stories” and modeling. If the cats have microchips why not the children? Isn’t it enough that we have to worry about the “Houdini” issue without enduring further angst from abductors?
“What am I going to do?” I mutter under my breath. My daughter stops giggling to tell me, “it's o.k. mum, they're not stupid you know!”
We look one to another, and “another,” and “another.”
I know she's “right.”