Mother's Intuition [Protecting Our Daughter]

by - March 26, 2018

I live my life with a glass-half-full mentality. This isn't something I have to work at—it's just the way I am, and I'm perfectly happy with that. I am quick to trust people and I believe in the general goodness of others.

I'm also an attentive listener—it's one of those introvert traits I'm proud of. (So yeah, maybe I won't be the centre of attention at a party where I don't really know anyone, but you'll fall in love with me because I'll let you chat my ear off while I give you attentive eye-contact and nod enthusiastically.) I listen because people fascinate me. I listen because I'd rather do that than talk about myself. And I listen because I'm wired to do it.

So when I went and picked up my daughter early from what was supposed to be a sleepover it was because a little voice inside me told me I had to. And I listened to it. Because it usually only says sunshiny things... And my glass may always be half-full, but you can bet I'd throw it at you if I thought you were threatening my family. (And F.Y.I. my 'glass' is a heavy ceramic mug, so that thing could do some serious damage!)

I said yes to the sleepover before I had all the information. That's my fault.

Noa was so excited, and I really had no concrete reason to prevent her from going.

I'm being silly, I told myself. I'm worrying for nothing and making unfair judgements.

I dropped her off and it was weird.

  • There was trash piled up beside the door. That was weird.
  •  I tried to make small-talk with the parent—me, the introvert who HATES small talk—and he gave me nothing. He would not engage. That was weird.
  • There was another man in the kitchen who wouldn't even turn around and acknowledge me. That was weird.

I kissed her goodbye. Squeezed her against me even though she was pulling away because she wanted to run off with her little friend. "If you need anything, you call me," I told her. "Anything!"

That evening, as I sat on the couch with my husband and eldest son, watching Split*, I couldn't shake the nagging discomfort in my gut. Every time the James McAvoy character appeared on the screen, I pictured the man who wouldn't turn around in the kitchen and I finally said to my husband, "What if we changed our plans so we go to the ROM tomorrow instead of Friday?"

"But isn't Noa supposed to be at her friend's until tomorrow afternoon?"

"I'll go pick her up."

"Because you want to go to the ROM, or because you don't want her to stay there?"

And I admitted my fears and how uncomfortable I was feeling and how I wanted to have a reason to pick her up early.

Then I called my mother.

"It's better to be paranoid and make sure she's safe than to ignore it and have something happen." —Mom

Ahhh... mother's wisdom. Sometimes you just need assurance from the person who raised you.

And so I went and picked her up, using our trip to the ROM as a ruse. I was warm and apologetic as I stood in that doorway and lied, and I didn't feel bad about it (even though my wise mother raised me to always tell the truth).

And the moment I had my daughter back in the car with me I relaxed. I was at peace.

It's very likely I was being paranoid. I probably had no reason to feel afraid. It was probably a combination of my own recessed prejudice, residual memories from my childhood when I slept over in a house with a man who scared me, and the knowledge that my sweet daughter has the same trust in the world as I do... but those things together meant I wouldn't sleep a wink unless she was in her bed on the other side of my own bedroom wall, her blond little head on her One Direction pillow.

I believe in intuition. I think it's important to pay attention, to use discretion, and, above all, protect the ones you love.

We got up early the next morning, and we did go to the ROM. We had a wonderful time together as a family.

I don't regret the choice I made, whether it was rude or harsh or unjustified—I only know, that had I not acted on my feelings and something had happened, that's a regret I could never ever leave behind, and that's all the justification I need.

Checking out the pretty mosaic ceiling at the Royal Ontario Museum

*If you like weird, creepy, psychological thrillers, this one is pretty great!

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  1. You have a very wise mom who raised a very wise and intuitive daughter who is also a great mom. I believe that to be true of all three of you.

    1. Just doing our best over here! And you're right about my mom - I've learned from the best!!

  2. Bravo. Too many women (and men) struggle because of things that happened at sleepovers when they were kids (or in school or Sunday school or wherever) it is good to guard her fiercely because something's can never be undone. ❤️

    1. 'Better to be safe than sorry' isn't a bad way to approach life, especially when our children are young.

  3. I also believe that this institution will help you to open your heart and to learn more about this culture.


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