I’m a nervous mother. I started out that way. Afraid of little ones falling, bumping their heads, poking eyes. Fortunately, my spouse didn’t share my fear/neurosis and encouraged our children in their physical feats. I just closed my eyes. As our children grew up I found more things to worry about– “Don’t take the subway alone at night”. ” Don’t walk home when it’s dark. ” Underground garages?? Don’t get me started. And then there is my morbid fear of ATMs. I ‘m the person who told her nannies not to use them because everyone knows when you walk up to the machine, you’re coming back with $$$ not milk or diapers. Then what happened? At 9 AM one Friday morning with my mother in tow, I got held up at gunpoint at MY bank on a sleepy Bethesda side street. Before we knew it, we were both on the floor with sawed off shotguns over our heads.
So my fears are rooted in history. I was held up at gunpoint twice when I owned my ice cream parlor on Capitol Hill. In college, I was mugged in my car while waiting for a friend to run into a restaurant to pick up our pizza. But I have been lucky. What just happened on Bethesda Avenue- the street where I have worked for over 25 years -is horrific. Two innocent young women brutalized by strange masked men. One is dead. It doesn’t help my fear quotient. I didn’t like going into our office garage or even our office on weekends before this happened. This senseless, vicious crime has impacted our whole community. Now when we walk down our charming, bustling street, we will always feel an acute sadness along with the loss of our sense of security.
Right after this incident, my daughter who lives in NYC told me she was dropping off an overdue project at office builiding late at night. Of course, I started in–“Please don’t go tonight.” And for the first time, she got my point in an instant. She said,” OK-You’re right. I’ll take it tomorrow morning.” I hate that I may be making her fearful or feeding some neurosis, but I can’t help myself. Every person learning about those two girls felt they could just as easily been their friends, their sisters, their daughters. There is a fine line between being cautious and becoming neurotic. We worry about protecting our little ones from bumps and brusies. With incidents like the one at Lululemon this past weekend, we know the desire to protect our kids doesn’t stop– even when they grow up. Sometimes the things we worry about most do happen. And sometimes those things are even worse than we could have ever imagined.