I am a person who was born with certain instincts. I am always aware of my surrounding and am ready to spring to action if needed. When I was seven and a half and still living in the former Soviet Union, I saved my friend from being kidnapped. When I was two months shy of my ninth birthday and living in Italy, I saved my mom’s purse from a mugger by running after him. When I was a teenager, I was the “mother hen” in my group of friends. My friends’ parents trusted me; they knew their daughters were safe when I was with them.
I want my daughter to be the same way, but I fear she did not inherit my instincts. When she was younger, she decided to play “Hide and Seek” in the Trumbull Mall Macy’s or run away from my husband in Shelton Stop & Shop. Now, being six years old, she understands not to stray far away from us.
I talk to Lana about strangers; I make sure she knows who to approach if she needs help. People usually say to talk to someone in a uniform like a fireman or a police officer, but I do not think that is the best advice. A person can easily impersonate a police officer by wearing a uniform. I teach Lana to approach a cashier in a store or a mother with a child. I also reinforce that she should not go anywhere with her friends unless my husband or I know where she is. I hope she is listening.
In another seven years Lana will be a teenager and there will be many more fears to deal with. Will she be a leader or a follower, will she choose her friends wisely, what dangers await her and will she know how to react. As always, I do not have answers to my own questions, but I know I am in the same boat as all the mothers who have daughters. So let’s take it one day at a time and cherish the days when our little girls were safe a sleep in our arms.