I don’t often have nightmares, but when I do, it’s usually based on the same theme: I am trying to hide from someone who is looking for me. . .someone who wants to hurt me. Sometimes I am being chased, sometimes I am hiding in a dark closet or under a bed.

Please don’t find me.

Please don’t find me.

I wake up in a panic and tell myself, “you are okay—go back to sleep.”

The dreams are terrifying. But they aren’t real.

My heart hurts for those families in Newtown, Connecticut who are waking up this morning, hoping it was all a nightmare.


Have we always been so cruel?

I know it is in our nature to look for an explanation for tragedy: Is it “God’s will?”, or “the evil of man?”,  or “that terrible rock-n-roll music?”

But, it still takes my breath away when we blame the victim(s) in an accident.

For instance, I just left my 11-and-8-year-olds downstairs making scrambled eggs so I could help my 9-year-old with the shower. If one of my children is terribly burned, how quickly will someone blame me for leaving them alone? (“She left her babies near a stove?!?!”)

After I stopped working to become a stay-at-home homeschooling parent, I’d hear comments like, “I could never let a stranger raise my children” every now and then. I always wondered, “Do they know that I let strangers “raise” my child three days a week so I could work an hour away?”

Do they know that I’d left my kids with a babysitter for a much-needed night out with my husband, only to find out later that this person was in no shape to be watching my very-young children. . .so much so that her mother called me afterward to say that her daughter was not “well” enough to do any more babysitting?

Do they think about all the children who get on a school bus each morning, or get dropped off at preschool, or go behind the doors of a gymnastics class. . .how vulnerable they are every day? Or do they tuck their children under their arms and take them everywhere, never letting them out of their sight?

I read last night’s horrific story about a nanny killing two young children with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. That this poor mother returned from taking her 3-year-old daughter to swim lessons to find her other two children bleeding in a bathtub is one of the worst things I’ve ever read. I dare you to read a news article about the screams the neighbors heard coming from that apartment and not be haunted by them.

Except some people weren’t haunted. They wanted to blame someone. And while the nanny seems like the likely person to blame, some blame the mother. How dare she have a nanny and “let someone else raise her children”? Serves her right for being wealthy and leaving her kids with a “stranger”?  Some even make this a political point as if this is a debate topic.

I realize the internet allows for a certain amount of anonymity so people feel “free” to make comments they would never have the guts to make to a person’s face. They may even feel they are raising important “issues”.

Though, make no mistake, they are not making some grand statement that needs to be heard: People who say this kind of stuff are assholes.

Have we always been so cruel? I suppose we have been. . .it just used to be easier to stay away from people like this. Now, with the internet, they seem to be everywhere.


My heart goes out to the shattered Krim family. 

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera

Hopefully I’m not the only one reading this who is old enough to remember Candid Camera. Once one of my favorite “grownup” shows to watch with my parents, this early “reality TV” show would secretly film people in in ridiculous–and totally staged–situations. Their embarassment would grow, along with the studio laughter, until host Allen Funt appeared to let them in on the joke.

There’s been a couple of times I’ve suspected I was being filmed for a new version of this show, like when I took a “relaxing” Tai Chi class that ended up being taught by a sado-masochist martial arts teacher who showed us all the ways he could hurt us. . . by hurting us. Or, the time I took a Zumba class that was so ridiculously hard, I was certain I could here the studio audience laughing at me.

The show has been on my mind lately as yet another video has gone viral, though this one isn’t funny at all. You’ve probably seen or heard the story of the bus-monitor grandmother who was filmed while a bunch of middle-school boys called her names and poked her as she tried to maintain a stoic demeanor. There have been plenty of others before this, of course. Perhaps you saw the secret video an abused daughter made of her father beating her for “disobedience”.  There are audio tapes of autistic children being berated and humiliated by their teachers in school. I remember seeing surveillance video of a mom beating her child into her car seat in a store parking lot. Even a blogger was caught in a lie when the TSA revealed video that seemingly cleared them of her accusations.

Strangely not all of the videos are “gotchas”. The grandmother-on-the-bus video was made, not by some Good Samaritan hoping to “catch” the bad kids, but one of the kids himself who did it because he was in on the “joke”. I’ve heard of several other videos where kids tape themselves beating someone up or stealing and then posting them proudly on YouTube.

I don’t think all this videotaping is making us a kinder society or even a more thoughtful one. But every time I see or hear of a videotape that catches someone doing something wrong or malicious, I get Allen Funt’s voice in my head. Though no one is smiling.