Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree

Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree

by Gina Valley

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Sort of.

Our tree is up, and that’s something.

Most of the rest of our decorations will make their grand entrance this weekend, giving my older kids time to finish their final exams at school, and everyone time to catch the chest cold that has started running through our family.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree

We should be able to cough Jingle Bells as a family by Sunday night.

With our tree up and decorated, at least it looks like we’re well on our way down the road to that magical Christmas place, touted by Martha, HGTV, and every ad on television.

The thing is, though, I’m not sure all those stylists of the holidays, all those cliché’rs of culture would consider our tree the iconic centerpiece of our holiday home they say it’s supposed to be.

Sure, it’s covered with shiny ornaments and garlanded in elegant ribbon. Yes, it’s got the requisite train track running around it (although no one seems to know where the actual train disappeared to). It’s even got the lovely embroidered skirt my sister-in-law got us in Italy wrapped around its trunk.

But, this morning, as I clicked on its lights and stood back to admire its loveliness,  I noticed our tree has a few added “flourishes” sprinkled amongst its bobbing branches that might give those professional holiday stylists pause, if not lumps in their egg nog.

Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree

#10.  Slim Jim Wrapper – The nasty supposed-to-be-meat-but-I-suspect-nothing-in-it-was-ever-alive-product stick is missing, but its charming packaging is snuggled into a branch 2/3 of the way up our tree, gleefully reflecting the twinkling lights.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree#9.  Marshmallows – I think someone was trying to make it look like our tree had snow on it by distributing the white fluffy treats all over it. It probably would have been more authentic looking if they hadn’t used the giant marshmallows I bought to use to make S’mores with. Some of them have bites missing, too. I guess “Mother Nature” was hungry.

#8.  Daughter#3’s Math Quiz – The grade at the top of the crumpled paper, shoved into the lower branches, reveals she scored an 82%. Therefore it might just be a Christmas miracle, since her current average in that class is about 20 clicks south of that score

#7.  Gobs Of Dog Hair – It looks like the bottom couple of feet of our tree has been flocked. However, upon closer inspection, one sees that it’s not artificial snow, but rather real-life blonde Labrador hair. Bear, our giant yellow lab, finds the tree a convenient scratching post, and makes a furry deposit every time he has an itch.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree#6.  The Black Xbox Controller – Son#4 was trying to hide said controller from Son#3.  But, Son#3 found it and decided to relocate the treasured controller (yes, we have 4 others, but somehow this one is “the best”) from where Son#4 had hidden it (inside the box of paper towels, underneath the powder room sink) to a top branch on the back of our Christmas tree.

It’s hard to spot as one gazes at our Tannenbaum in all its glory in our living room, but clearly visible to anyone who walks across our front patio and happens to glance at our front window. If only my kids would apply these skills to locating their shoes when we’re late for school in the morning.

#5.  A Tiny Milk Carton – It’s one of those small milk cartons from the cafeteria at school. Son#4 was supposed to adhere graham crackers to it with frosting to make a gingerbread-esque Christmas ornament, like the rest of his class did last week, during their arts and crafts time. But, Son#4 ate all of his frosting and most of his graham crackers, while waiting for his teacher to finish giving the instructions to complete the cracker-based architectural wonder.

His teacher didn’t have any extra supplies, so, quite unfazed, Son#4 attached the ornament hook to the top of the carton and called it “Done!” His teacher was horrified that he’d bring something home like that. I wonder what she’d say if she knew he hung the little, naked, still-somewhat-stinky milk carton on our tree.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree#4.  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Splatter – Daughter#2 “accidentally” tripped Daughter#3, who then fell into the tree, losing her cup of ice cream deep within its ever-green, now ever-sticky, branches. She eventually retrieved the cup, but the thick, sticky delightful dairy treat hardened and remains, solidified in a dripping pattern, as though the scientists from Jurassic Park will be arriving any second to check it for dinosaur DNA.

#3.  A Large, Long, Bright Yellow Automotive Oil Change Funnel – We usually use that funnel to water our tree, but this year we’re using our artificial tree, making watering it less than necessary.  But, Son#2, who in general “could  live without this whole ‘decorate everything’ thing” said that it wasn’t Christmas without the giant yellow beast, and placed it prominently among our petroleum-products-based tree’s many boughs. I’m not sure “Christmas” is the word that springs to mind when you see it, but I know the word “classy” definitely is not.

#2.  The Professor’s Cell Phone – He rarely makes it out the door with his cell phone, and when he does, it’s either uncharged or turned off, rendering him quite unreachable either way. The monthly fees for that communication device are clearly money well spent. When I saw it there, my first instinct was to call him to relate the latest “Where’s Waldo?” about his phone. At least I realized my goofiness before I started dialing. This time.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 NON-ORNAMENTS Found On Our Tree

#1.  A Santa-Hat-Shaped Ceramic Plate – It’s the plate we put cookies and carrots on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa and his reindeer (The Professor gets the cookies. I get the carrots. Dang, low-carb lifestyle). We can never find that blasted thing on Christmas Eve.

Frequently, we’ve had to make do with some less than acceptable substitutions: The box the rolls of tape came in; a slightly-used paper plate (“Santa’s not going to care. He’s not real anyway. It’s just dad eating the cookies and he doesn’t care if his dishes are clean, right?” as Daughter#2 put it); the lid from the shoe box I was hiding the latest Halo game in for Son#1; etc. So, I told one of my pack members to put the plate where we could easily find it, and, apparently, that was the place selected.

Could be worse, I guess. At least we don’t have any squirrels living in there.

Probably.

There’s no place like home for the holidays.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Anything interesting made its home amongst your holiday decorations? Any squirrel squatters? Shoot me a comment. You’re already here, and I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Tuesday Tickles – dovc

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Complied by Gina Valley

I love to share giggles.

Here’s some of the tweets

that made me laugh in the last week.

 

Great tweets from great tweeps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a laugh!

Don’t miss a giggle.  “Like” up my Facebook page, and share it with a friend.

Laugh Loud Out!

-gina

What makes you smile?  Where do you turn when you need a giggle?  Do you have a favorite tweeter?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

That Healthy Stuff Will KILL You!!!

That Healthy Stuff Will KILL You!!!

by Gina Valley

My go-to crunchy snack of late is almonds. They’re no Cheez Doodles, but they are a healthy choice. They’re low in carbs, high in protein, and yummy.

Usually.

I’ve also started taking a multivitamin. Technically, I’ve always taken multivitamins, but I’m not so good at the pill swallowing thing, so, for the last decade or two, I’ve had those gummy vitamins. My sister, the doctor, recently pointed out that “someone your age should have a much broader spectrum of nutrients in their supplement to aid in brain sharpness than is available in a gummy bear.”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley That Healthy Stuff Will Kill You Duh! Moments Health

I pointed out that, first of all, they were not gummy bears; they’re gummy vitamins.  And, that my age is 10 years younger than hers.

But, I knew she was right (nobody tell her I said that), so I found a multivitamin with all the bizarre brain sharpness supporting stuff in it she said to take, and I’ve done pretty well swallowing the giant pill each day for the past month. I think I’m almost a grown up now.

When I began this pill-swallowing-act-like-a-grown-up routine, I realized that my stomach was less than welcoming to the giant pill, and quite prone to reject it altogether (and to return it to sender in a most rapid and disgusting manner) if I did not have a little snack right before I swallowed the near-submarine-sized chunk o’ health. So, I usually eat a few almonds when I’m getting ready to trip the pill fantastic.

Today, I grabbed my 12 almonds (yes, I count them. OCD – the gift that keeps giving!), and started munching them while I got out my multivitamin and my fish oil capsules out of their bottles. Yes, I’m becoming quite the health nut (Chocolate is still healthy, right?).

I was just about done with my almonds when I bit into what I thought was an almond, but was clearly a minion of satan.

I immediately wanted to cry out “Something evil this way comes!” but I couldn’t because it tasted so bad I was gagging (and no one was home to hear it anyway, other than our dogs, who have never put anything into their mouth that they didn’t find delicious).

This taste was worse than the rotten, cherry cough-syrup taste usually gifted to me by the occasional bad nut in each bag (almonds are not technically nuts, but still). It was beyond-this-world horrible.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley That Healthy Stuff Will Kill You Duh! Moments Health

I gagged. I coughed. I spewed the rancid mess into our kitchen sink.

Then, I gulped from the faucet and swished and gargled and spit in an attempt to rid my mouth of the foul invader.

I was truly a vision of breathtaking femininity.

The nasty nut had crumbled and wedged pieces of itself in between my teeth. I briefly wondered if the power washer we rented to clean off the patio would fit in my mouth or if my dentist would consider opening his office on his day off to blast my teeth with that water jet thing they have.

But, it occurred to me that, were I to bite into some good tasting almonds, the pieces of those yummy almonds would dislodged the pieces of the evil almond, rendering them spit-outable.

Just as I was tossing the last two almonds from my hand into my mouth in an effort to get the foul remnants of the disgusting almond out of my teeth, I remembered the reason I was munching on almonds in the first place. I was preparing my sensitive stomach for the arrival of my multivitamin.  The horrible almond, I realized as the last 2 almonds landed in my mouth, was not an almond at all.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley That Healthy Stuff Will Kill You Duh! Moments HealthIt was my multivitamin. (how are vitamins good for us when they clearly are made out of evil?!?!)

And, I realized just in time to abort the first chew, those last 2 almonds I’d tossed into my mouth to save me from the evil almond, which was not an almond, were not almonds, either. They were fish oil capsules.

I think the multivitamin is not so much helping with my brain-sharpness.

So, I’m calling my sister, the doctor, to tell her, as soon as I get back from the store.

I’m buying some gummy vitamins.

And, a bag of Cheez Doodles.

They may not be good for me, but at least they’ve never tried to kill me.

Laugh out loud!

-gina

Do you take vitamins? Are you good at swallowing pills? What healthy stuff do you do? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Tuesday Tickles – udovc

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Twitter Tuesday Tickles – udovcTuesday Tickles – udovc

Complied by Gina Valley

I love to share giggles.

Here’s some of the tweets

that made me laugh in the last week.

 

Great tweets from great tweeps:

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a laugh!

Don’t miss a giggle.  “Like” up my Facebook page, and share it with a friend.

Laugh Loud Out!

-gina

What makes you smile?  Where do you turn when you need a giggle?  Do you have a favorite tweeter?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Tuesday Tickles – uuvc

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Twitter Tuesday Tickles – uuvcTuesday Tickles – uuvc

Complied by Gina Valley

I love to share giggles.

Here’s some of the tweets

that made me laugh in the last week.

 

Great tweets from great tweeps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a laugh!

 

Don’t miss a giggle.  “Like” up my Facebook page, and share it with a friend.

Laugh Loud Out!

-gina

What makes you smile?  Where do you turn when you need a giggle?  Do you have a favorite tweeter?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Top 10 Topics My Sons Are Bickering About

Top 10 Topics My Sons Are Bickering About

by Gina Valley

They say children help you live longer. I say it just feels longer.

Take yesterday afternoon, for example.

Please, take it.

I had planned a relaxing afternoon for our family. Unfortunately, I neglected to consult the Calendar Of Childish Insanity prior to making my plans.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Topics My Sons Are Bickering AboutIf I had consulted it, I would have been advised that my 2 youngest sons were scheduled to slip into grumpy-old-men mode and to bicker all afternoon.

What did they bicker about? What didn’t they bicker about would be an easier to answer question. But, here’s a few of the vitally important topics they decided to debate in a seemingly unending manner:

Top 10 Topics My Sons Are Bickering About

#10.  The correct way to pronounce “era.” It’s ear-uh! It’s air-uh! It’s enough to drive everyone around them insane.

#9.  Is it ok to eat the bread (cracker piece) before the wine (grape juice) when you’re taking communion. Yes, that was the argument they were having when our pastor had to stop preaching to shush them.

#8.  Whether trumpets or saxophones are better…for killing zombies.  I guess they want to be prepared in case zombies show up at their next band concert.

#7.  Which of our dogs is smarter. I’ve got news for them – I don’t think either dog is going to be asked to join Mensa anytime soon.

#6.  Whose turn it was to tell their sister that it’s her turn to take out the trash. I think I saw the cat roll his eyes before burying his head under a pillow during this exchange.

#5.  Whose boxers are on the floor in our dining room. Yes, dining room. They argued about this for half an hour, and then decided the boxers did not belong to either of them. Apparently, they believe our neighbors are dropping by in the middle of the night, and leaving underwear in our dining room.

#4.  Why a pencil is called a “pencil.” Seriously. This banter was so horrible it even sucked the life out of our few living houseplants.

#3.  Which of the twin brothers who are teachers at their school looks more like “that guy in that movie.” That’s right, they couldn’t remember the guy’s name or the movie’s name, and were undeterred by the fact that these 2 men are identical twins.

#2.  Who should have to get out of our van first? Keep in mind this lovely discussion, complete with insults and whining, took place while the two boys, who normally race to see who can get out first, were seated exactly equal distances from the door, both, apparently wanting to live out their days inside of our van.

#1.  Whether some guy, named Zak, cheated when he ran a 6 minute mile in PElast year. They nearly came to blows over this one, and, frankly, I don’t even know who the heck Zak is, much less care if he cheated.

Now, where did I put those boarding school brochures?

And, do they take moms?

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you been witness to a marathon bicker-fest in your family? Anyone grumpy in your neck of the woods? How do you handle it? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Tickles – ucvc

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Complied by Gina Valley

I love to share giggles.

Here’s some of the tweets

that made me laugh in the last week.

 

Great tweets from great tweeps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a laugh!

Don’t miss a giggle.  “Like” up my Facebook page, and share it with a friend.

Laugh Loud Out!

-gina

What makes you smile?  Where do you turn when you need a giggle?  Do you have a favorite tweeter?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Top 10 Signs You’ve Had TOO MUCH Candy

Top 10 Signs You’ve Had TOO MUCH Candy

by Gina Valley

It’s the most candy-centric time of the year.

There’s candy everywhere you look.

People are talking about candy. People are buying candy. People are eating candy. People are dropping candy wrappers on the floor.

Or, maybe that’s just at my house.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Signs You’ve Had Too Much Candy HalloweenNot only is this the time of year when we tell our children it’s ok to take candy from strangers, but we actually dress them up like little crazy folks and send them out to beg for candy.

The hypnotic sweet scent of candy surrounds you the moment you step into any store, causing you to mindlessly grab and cling to bags of Kit Kats and mini Snickers, as though you’re lost at sea and they’re life vests.

Is this sugar tsunami threatening to drown you? Have you had too much candy? Is it time to set down the bag of Starbursts and to slowly back away before anyone else gets hurt?

How can you be sure?

If you (or your child or your spouse) meet any of the following qualifications, you (or he or she) have had too much candy:

Top 10 Signs You’ve Had Too Much Candy

#10.  Your commute to work took half its usual time & you didn’t even take your car.

#9.  You know what the fox said.

#8.  You can see sound.

#7.  You stirred your morning coffee with a Snickers bar & followed it with a Milky Way chaser.

#6.  You can recite The Song of Hiawatha 10 times in a row without taking a breath.

#5.  You swam ten laps at the gym & never got wet.

#4.  You sent your daughter’s hamster into a sugar coma just by breathing on it.

#3.  You didn’t pay attention to what was discussed at your morning staff meeting, because you were too busy picking M&M characters to match each person seated around the table.

#2.  You complained to the waiter at lunch that your salad had no colorful candy coating.

#1.  You did that Gangnam Style thing so fast that you set the carpet on fire.

If you still aren’t sure whether you (or your spouse or your child) have had too much candy, down one more Milk Dud, then see if the fluorescent lights in your office get brighter.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

How flows the candy tide at your house?  Are you chocolate or anti-chocolate? Do you monitor the candy intake or just hope it all disappears soon?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Tuesday Tickles – dvovc

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Twitter MomSpeak KidSpeak Tuesday Tickles – dvovcTuesday Tickles – dvovc

Complied by Gina Valley

I love to share giggles.

Here’s some of the tweets

that made me laugh in the last week.

 

Great tweets from great tweeps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a laugh!

 

Don’t miss a giggle.  “Like” up my Facebook page, and share it with a friend.

Laugh Loud Out!

-gina

What makes you smile?  Where do you turn when you need a giggle?  Do you have a favorite tweeter?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Seriously Today – I’m Angry!

Seriously Today – I’m Angry!

by Gina Valley

I’m angry.

Maybe more than angry.

Yes, definitely more than angry.

Yesterday, one of my daughters was the victim of a crime.

Five of my kids and I were out clothes shopping.  My 19 year old son took my youngest kids to wait in our van while I paid for his sister’s clothes, as the line to pay was long and slow. Our van was parked about 20 parking spaces straight out from the front of the store I was in.

My teenage daughter got tired of waiting in line with me, and decided to go wait in our van, too.

Crime Assault Family Life Love Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Harassment Seriously Today – I’m Angry!

It never occurred to me that it was unsafe for her to walk from the store to our van.  I didn’t even think about it. I couldn’t see her trek from my vantage point, but even if I could have, it would not have occurred to me to monitor it. Her older brother, waiting in our van, had no idea she was on her way, but he, too, would never have thought she needed protecting at that point.

Even now, looking back, it seems impossible that something bad could happen when she had such a short distance to cover in broad daylight, in a shopping center located in a Los Angeles suburb, that has been repeatedly named one of the safest places to live in our nation several times.

But, something bad did happen.

A man followed my daughter almost the instant she left the store. He harassed her, made crude, salacious comments, and tried to touch her. It terrified her. She was nearly running by the time she reached our van, with this man inches behind her.

Her brother, then alerted to trouble, hopped out of our van and started toward the man. The man saw him, and ran off.

When I returned to our van, no one mentioned the incident to me until we were nearly out of the shopping center parking lot.

When someone finally did, I immediately parked, so I could get the whole story.

After making sure my daughter was okay, I drove around the shopping center in an effort to locate this man. If my daughter was not safe, no one else’s was either. I could not just drive off and leave a dangerous situation for the next child who was in that shopping center.

We found the man.

I had my kids stay in the van, and I went to talk to the man. I told the man, who was in his thirties, that he had harassed my young, teenage daughter in that parking lot and that was completely unacceptable.  He spewed out some filth and lies, trying to make it sound like my daughter had sought him out. I reminded him that it is a crime for an adult such as himself to make comments like that to a child or to try to touch anyone.  He again replied with filth and non-sense.

It was clear at that point that he was either mentally ill or under chemical influence. I told him I was going to call the police because he was a danger to children in the area. He said that he did not care. I asked him if I could take his picture. He said, “Yeah, then I can be famous.”

I took his picture, in case he disappeared before the police arrived. I called 911, and the first squad car arrived a couple minutes later. When it did, the man raced into a large store, presumably to hide.

Several more squad cars with multiple officers arrived. They searched the store, found the man, and arrested him.

In the movies, that’s where this kind of story ends. The bad guy goes to jail, where he will be kept until he changes his way. The victim goes home, feeling healed & safe, knowing that the bad guy is gone forever.  Even the police officers feel great about having solved a problem and ensured safety in the kingdom.

But, this wasn’t a movie.

This bad guy will not be kept in jail until he changes his way.

The victim does not feel healed or safe.

The officers involved feel only frustration and futility, knowing the problem is not solved.

And, I’m angry about it. All of it.

I’m angry that I have to think about this.  All of it.  I not only have to consider whether a child is mature enough not to get lost and large enough not to be carried off, but also is he or she protected enough not to be harassed if walking around outside. Our children should be safe because they are children. I’m angry that is not the case.

I’m angry that this man has a very long history of being arrested in that area for similar offenses, which have steadily increased in aggressiveness, and  yet the law that works so well to protect the accused’s rights, does nothing to protect the rights of the innocents, in this case, my daughter.

I’m angry that my daughter must change her behavior to protect herself from this man, but this man does not have to change his. One of the officers told me that he had personally arrested this man at least a dozen times and that I needed to make sure my daughter knew that this man would be back in the area as soon as he got out of jail, so that she can brace herself for that.  My daughter will have to stay away from that shopping center for her own safety, but the man who tried to assault her there will return.

I’m angry I hadn’t taught my daughter to scream, make a scene, and yell for help in that kind of situation. I’m angry it hadn’t even occurred to me that she would ever be in that kind of situation, and would need those kinds of skills.

I’m angry that my daughter has had to relive what was a terrifying experience for her, over and over, as she was asked to give her statement to the officers and detectives. They need her statement to do their job. They need it to protect other people. But, I’m still angry that she had to do that, because of the additional pain and trauma it caused her.

I’m angry that I had to take my daughter to the police station to be photographed and recorded. Officers on the case wisely called in a sex crimes prosecutor for advice on what evidence to collect, so as to have the best chance at convicting this man.

They were told to photograph my daughter wearing the outfit she was wearing at the time, and to record her voice making her statement to be able to demonstrate in court at a later date that she clearly appeared to be a minor at the time. They told me that it’s good she has braces, and that it’s good she doesn’t wear makeup.

Basically, what they were preparing for was a future attempt to blame the victim for this crime. Some lawyer is going to stand in front of a judge and try to convince him that this attack was the victim’s fault, my daughter’s fault.  I’m angry about that.

I’m angry that my daughter must go through a very stressful process in order to protect others from becoming victims in this man’s ever more aggressive string of harassments. It could have been much, much worse. Many have had much, much worse happen to them. That’s why we’re putting in the time and effort to pursue prosecution in this case. This man has a history of arrests, and, according to officials, his actions are becoming more aggressive.  I am angry that it’s so hard to protect other people.

I’m angry because apparently this man has a parent in the nearby area, who is in denial about his mental health issues, and has refused to advocate for him to be evaluated to receive clearly needed mental health treatment. This man is headed for tragedy, his own and possibly that of innocent people around him, too, if he does not receive mental health treatment.

Most of all, I’m angry that something was taken from my daughter that she will never get back.

Every time she walks alone in a parking lot for the rest of her life she will have doubts as to her safety.  She will never again have the innocent, carefree attitude as she walks around in public that she had before that afternoon. She won’t be thinking about what she’s doing with her friends on Friday night or the cute boots she saw in the store window or how excited her brother will be when he opens up the birthday gift she bought him.

Instead, in the back of her mind, and sometimes in the front, she’ll wonder if she’s being followed. She’ll plan how she’ll escape.

I’m angry about that.

Very angry.

Fifteen year olds should be worried about who likes whom and acne and what movie is coming out on Friday night.

They shouldn’t have to think about whether someone is going to hurt them.

But now, sadly, that’s what mine has to think about now.

And, I’m angry.

-gina

How do you handle it when something bad happens to one of your loved ones?  Have you helped a family member through a scary time?  Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission