Friday, September 9, 2011

Why I Lock the Windows

If you've been following the Canadian news, there's currently an Amber Alert for a three-year-old in BC who was snatched from his home while he was sleeping. Given my harrowing hour earlier this week when I thought Bear had been kidnapped (the shoes and scooter left on the driveway didn't help matters), my heart goes out to his parents. Well, it would anyway, but it just feels particularly close this time.

When I was a little girl, I always slept with my bedroom window wide open. My bedroom faced the street, and there was even a porch roof right under the window that ran the length of the house. Actually, it ran the length of five houses, because we were in a row house. Perfect for kidnappers, but that never occured to us. Why would it? I imagine that children have been snatched from their homes for as long as there have been people who want to harm children, and I imagine that's since the beginning of time. Why anyone would want to hurt a child I have no idea, but I know they're out there. But somehow the idea of someone coming into our home and my bedroom never occured to me or to my parents.

About a year before I got pregnant with Bear, little Cecilia Zhang was taken from her parents' home in Toronto in the middle of the night. For those of you who remember the story, it didn't end well. That story, and that sweet little girl's face, are etched in my brain and have coloured how I put my boys to bed. Call me paranoid (and I'm the first to agree with you), but my guys have never had the luxury of sleeping with their bedroom windows open. You see, we're in a bungalow, and you wouldn't need more than a step-ladder to get to the windows.

Am I nuts? Maybe. Am I scarring my kids for life? I don't think so. Bear has never questioned why I close his window at night because that's just the way it's always been. At bedtime Mommy and Daddy close his window and pull down the blind. That's our ritual, and as far as he's concerned there's nothing more to it.

I pray for the safe return of little Kienan Hebert and for strength for his parents to face whatever is coming. And in the meantime, I will continue to lock the windows at night.

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