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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rabbit Rabbit

When my mother was a girl, on the first day of the month, she would say "rabbit rabbit" as she hopped out of bed to ensure good luck for the month ahead. (The charm only works when you enact the ritual before you say a single word to anyone that morning.)

Rabbit. Rabbit.

Oh to have a simple charm to weave into the lives of my children to keep them safe in the world.

Yesterday at the same time Son and friends were walking home from school, I was mulling over letting my middle-school-aged children go out trick or treating unchaperoned. Meanwhile a group high school boys were approaching Son and friends asking them to buy some weed.

When Son and friends declined (thank you!), and kept on walking, the delinquents followed, snickering.

Rabbit! Rabbit!

A couple blocks later, one of them confronted our boys and assaulted Son's friend. A right cross to the chin, they later described it to the police. Those hooligans were just looking for a fight when our boys happened to cross their path, the cop said.

Ironically, just the day before I was explaining to Son that our safe neighborhood still held danger and that's why I was concerned about him being out alone on Halloween night. I mentioned several instances of young men assaulted by strangers. Little did I know that the next day he'd experience my fear in real life.

Rabbit!! Rabbit!!

No charm, no mother's warning protects our children on the street.

The cellphone they carry for the unimaginable emergency didn't ward off the blow.

The police who took an hour to get there to take their statement weren't able to protect them. In broad daylight. In a safe neighborhood. By the time they got there the perpetrator was long gone.
Did I let my son out that night without an adult? Yes, he and his friends got home safely, candy bags full and trauma left behind.

As I guide my children across the chasm between childhood and independence, I say prayers and hope for a Guardian Angel (or even simple dumb luck) to guide them safely through the journey away from the safety of home and out into the world.

Today as I muse about good luck charms and cell phones, I wait from him to make it safely home, holding him in my thoughts.

Rabbit! Rabbit!