Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Makes You Feel Safe?

Last night, we had terrible storms across Georgia. Hannah was downtown at school and I told her that she either needed to come home right then, or make the decision to stay downtown for the night. To my immense relief, she decided to come home, and I felt safer once she walked in the door. I also felt safer once I had found Jenny the Extra Cat and gotten her inside.

Tonight when I was walking the dog, a police officer drove into the neighborhood and stopped to talk to me for a minute. This was Officer McBride, who patrols our neighborhood every week, has joined our neighborhood online forum and makes helpful posts and has even given us his phone number in case we have questions. I had never met him before, but I had certainly heard of him and read his posts. A few nights ago, Hannah and I were walking and another officer stopped to talk to us. While we may not see a complete cessation of crime in our neighborhood, I feel safer knowing that members of the Dekalb County Police Department take a personal interest in our neighborhood, and have taken the time to get to know the neighbors.

I was on an airplane a couple of weeks ago, landing in the middle of a strong thunderstorm. I honestly wondered if I was going to die. I didn't feel safe at all, at least until we were completely on the ground and the doors of the plane opened. I did a lot of praying during that landing, and I'd love to be able to say that knowing that God was there with me made me feel safer. But my complete and total fear obscured any peace that I might have felt. Kind of like how the disciples in the storm-tossed boat must have felt while Jesus slept, I suppose.

But I'm lucky, as are most of the people I know. We live in a country that isn't torn by violent internal political strife. While I'm not wealthy, I have enough to feed and clothe my family, and to keep a roof over our heads while we watch television shows on AT&T U-Verse. So, all things considered, I'm safe. And I'm thankful. And next time I'm on a storm-tossed plane, maybe I'll remember that God really is with me and I should have some faith!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thanks Miss Linda!

Due to the fact that the advertising agency I worked for resigned the account I worked on, I got laid off right after my maternity leave. This was actually a blessing – Hannah was a bit colicky (translation: screamed for 12 hours a day for 12 weeks), and I don’t know how I could have handed her over to a babysitter without feeling really guilty. After the screaming stopped, I had a few more months of new-mommy bliss with my perfect baby. But I needed to work, and when she was about five months old, I got an interview with another advertising agency.

I lived in Baltimore at the time and the only babysitter I knew of kept a friend’s kids and came highly recommended. But Miss Linda wasn’t interested in taking any babies. I called her anyway and told her that I knew she wasn’t taking babies, but that my interview was right down the street from her house and could I just leave Hannah with her for a couple of hours that ONE day?

When I came to pick Hannah up that afternoon, Linda said that she’d like to keep her again – maybe for a whole day – just to see how it went. When I picked Hannah up the next time, Linda told me she’d keep her full time if I got the job. Apparently her son, Tommy, who was about 10 at the time helped her make that decision.
There were many wonderful things about having Miss Linda watch my child. Linda treated Hannah, and later Sara, as if she were her own child. And so did the rest of Linda’s family. I don’t know if there is a more loving environment for children than Miss Linda’s house. She taught Hannah all sorts of things, gave love and correction in equal doses, and made my life so much easier.

But the very best thing about day care at Miss Linda’s house was that all of Hannah’s firsts – first step, first word – all of those things that mommies and daddies worry about missing – happened at home on the weekend! I’d drop Hannah of on a Monday morning and say “Hannah took a step this weekend!” and Linda would say “You know – it looked like she was on the verge of that on Friday!” In my bliss at mommy-hood, it never occurred to me that Linda was just protecting me until so much later that it didn’t even matter.

I don’t know why I was thinking about this last night, but I wanted to write it down and give Linda McCauley a big dose of love and thankfulness. She was a God-send for my family, and for many other families through the years. So thanks Linda – the Lozanos love you!