Yesterday we spent the afternoon visiting several farms during North Carolina's Farm Tour Day. While the children wandered about looking at all the farm animals like sheep, cows, and goats Tim and I took turns asking questions about fencing and shearing. We had a great time, but after a few hours in the 90 degree heat we put all the hot and tired children in the van with a bag of juice each for the ride home.
After unloading the cooler and gear, I headed back out to the local cheap Chinese joint to pick up our order of General Tso's chicken and Pepper Steak while Tim put the two icky little boys into the tub. When I got back I set the food out on the table and called everyone to supper. We said grace, but then noticed that the baby was not in his high chair. "Where is Timmy?" All of us got up immediately and started calling his name. Mary finally found him in the front yard, being watched by a man taking his toddler for a walk down the street. I snatched him up and carried him back in. Later Tim was out chatting with the neighbors and discovered that the baby had actually been in the road, which scared the daylights out of me. Nothing like this has ever happened to any of the children, because I naturally keep close tabs on where every child is, especially the under 5 year old set.
Now I can't sleep because when I close my eyes I imagine what could have happened and what might still happen. My fears of drowning, snatching, rare childhood diseases, and car accidents wake me up regularly, but I usually reassure myself that those fears are unjustified. But the combination of the facts that the two storm doors in this house don't latch by themselves and that Timmy now likes to push on said doors for fun leads me to imagine a very bad outcome. Monday morning I will head to the hardware store for some hook and eye closures, but I tremble at the thought of one of our neighbors thinking us poor parents from this episode and calling social services on us. Maybe I am a bit paranoid, but after reading so many articles from HSLDA and magazines about children being taken away from their parents, I worry.
Tim and I consider ourselves very good parents. We keep them all clean and fed, educated and entertained. We kiss them often and tell them daily how much we love them as well as make sure they are not spoiled or materialistic. We urge them to be artistic, independent, and well read. My heart just stops at the thought of something terrible happening to any one of these precious souls entrusted to our care. I feel very vulnerable right now. I worry for their safety from physical dangers as well as the government agencies that supposedly protect them.