The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, October 08, 2007



Last week, I received an e-mail from the Mill Valley School District informing parents of two abduction attempts on two consecutive days near an elementary school in Larkspur. The would-be kidnapper tried to lure one or more young girls into his car and drag another into some bushes.

A chill spread through my body as I thought about how these incidents could have turned into a parent’s worst nightmare. Then came an even scarier thought: if this guy was desperate and brazen enough to try snatching girls in front of the same school two days in a row, what was to stop him from showing up at another nearby school—perhaps my daughter’s -- to hunt for prey?

I’ve touched on the topic of strangers with my outgoing five-year-old before. But I’ve always tried to work it into a conversation naturally and not delve into it too deeply. I don’t want to darken her sunny view of the world too soon, to turn her into someone who sees it through suspicious and frightened eyes.

With these abductions happening so close to home, though, and the suspect still on the loose, it was time for a more serious talk. As she sat on my lap, I went over the points recommended on the Mill Valley Police Department’s child safety Web page,

Then, without planning to, I found myself telling her about my own encounter with a stranger when I was around her age. The memory of that day is still vivid more than 40 years later.

It was a sunny afternoon, and as many young children did then, I was making the short walk home from school by myself. I was wearing my favorite outfit -- a neon-green, pink and yellow mini-dress, fishnet tights, and white go-go boots.

As I approached a long, white car parked near the school, a man with tanned skin and neatly-combed, slick dark hair leaned across the front seat and motioned for me to come over. I froze. Something about the large mirrored sunglasses that hid his eyes, his too-broad smile and the way he crooked his finger at me told me to stay away.

I raced back to my classroom. It was empty, but next door the students and teacher were lined up outside their class preparing to go home. Sobbing, I told the teacher about the stranger while her students stared. She called my mother to come and get me. Starting the next day, I walked to and from school with the boy across the street.

My parents tried to convince me -- or maybe them -- that the man in the car was probably a daddy waiting to pick up his child. But I know I did the right thing by fleeing. And I pray my daughter would do the same.

By Dorothy O’Donnell


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