Saturday, April 7, 2007
Just a Few Laps
I still cannot fully wrap my mind around what happened to my son yesterday. We live in a townhome and our front yard is a shared courtyard. On a typical day there are several parents chatting and children playing--it's a very friendly block. My family alone constitutes seven of the children who play together so it usually feels busy and pretty safe. The houses face in toward the courtyard, we have helpful conscientious neighbors, and full-time security.
Yesterday was different.
There was a quiet lull in the afternoon. Young children who had been playing vigorously went in for naps and quiet time. Older children were away with friends. I went in to tidy-up and my 9 year old son asked if he could skate a few laps around the courtyard. "Sure, just a few." I can't see my son at the far end of the courtyard, but I can watch as he nears the house and rounds the corner to skate another lap. Not long after he went out, he came back in with this odd report.
A bearded grey-haired man whom my son had never seen before called out for assistance. He was at the street corner away from the highly-visible main courtyard. He stood alongside the end home where there is no window and he is surrounded by mostly empty carports.
"My dog had a couple of shots today and is being uncooperative. Will you call my dog? Just say, 'Come Koba!'"
My son kept his distance, but called the chiuaua-sized dog and the pup went to him. Then my son turned to get away.
"Wait! Come this way so my dog will follow you over here."
"I have to go home," my son replied as he continued to skate home. He told me immediately what had happened. I looked around outside and saw no one. I hoped it was an innocent neighbor with bad judgment (we have taught our children that adults should only ask adults for help, NEVER children). Just to be safe, I called the police to give a report and an officer came out to our home to take it down.
After all of this, one more very interesting detail came out. During the entire encounter, the tiny dog was on a LEASH! What??? Yes, a leash that the man was holding. I had assumed it was a free-roaming dog, but NO! This was a tiny dog on a leash that the owner had in his hand. Why on earth would a grown man ask a little boy to lead a tiny dog when the pet was already on a leash? I don't want to think about it, and yet I can't stop thinking about it. It is too suspicious.
I know that bad things happen to good people, but I am so grateful that yesterday we were spared. I am glad that we prayed as a family for protection that day and that my son obeyed a prompting to get home and tell his mother what had happened. You can never tell your children too many times what to do and to have them practice it. Even then, children are taught to respect adults and to be helpful and kind--they are so naturally trusting--they need their parents' protection. And although I was close by, I wasn't close enough to have prevented that encounter. No one in my courtyard will skate alone again--even for a few laps.