there but for the grace of god…

Français : où mène la Licence

Français : où mène la Licence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children the world over are often the victims of adult sexual fantasies, beginning with their immediate support group of relatives, friends, and family acquaintances. Whether such unwanted advances are seen through to fruition, i.e. sexual abuse, goes mostly unknown. After all, the fear of being “found out” is something a child instinctively knows will probably bode ill for him or her. Adults are to be believed; children are to be seen…and not heard…according to society’s dictum.

The recent escape of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight from the evil clutches of a band of brothers in Ohio, reminds us of the hold adults can have over unsuspecting innocents.

How many among us have been propositioned by an adult to have sex? Even if we were clueless about the mechanics of such co-mingling, we had a hunch it wasn’t child’s play. The mere thought of an adult touching his private parts can give a child the creeps, to put it mildly. I think it’s more likely the child would want to…get the hell out of there…AND FAST…even while his feet feel as though they’re cemented in place.

Pairing an overbearing, sex-starved adult with a child whose brain cells are still developing and maturing is like pitting Goliath against David…minus his slingshot. A child can’t even begin to wrap his or her brain around the torrid looks and lurid obscenities directed at him or her. They’re like “deer caught in headlights.”

To say I was such a child is probably commonplace. Perhaps the streak of cynicism I developed while living in NYC had been lying dormant since childhood. My ears and 6th sense have always perked up when men have made suggestions I thought were definitely…queer.

The earlier children learn about the “facts of life,” the better. And I don’t necessarily mean the how-tos of sex and making babies. Although that IS an inescapable reality.

A good friend once told me when our children were toddlers that they wouldn’t absorb any serious information until they were 5. My feeling was, and continues to be, that children learn from the day they are born.

From birth we are like sponges waiting to soak up all that we can in order to make decisions…great and small.

Values…right and wrong…good and bad…moral and immoral…are taught by adults who should know better. Every word…every gesture leaves an indelible mark upon a child’s psyche…for better or worse.

It’s never too early…and it’s never too late…to remove those rose-colored glasses from a child’s eyes.

A little cynicism is like…a 1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper with the juice of one lemon dissolved in hot water. A daily dose of this elixir keeps my metabolism revved…and overall inflammation under control.

With life-saving information…a child can be on the alert for sexual predators…without even knowing that her radar is set to high alert.

…better safe than sorry…my motto…IMG_4487

………hugmamma.

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i was there…newtown

I’ve been away from my laptop and Word Press for some time now. There’ve been issues to deal with, some health, some holiday preparedness.

Sitting for hours at a time is not heart-healthy. Nor is it wise for me to overwork my arthritic right thumb…now in a customized brace which I wear daily.

Readership is down considerably. But I’ve learned to accept the ebb and flow of visitors to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. The wisdom of age is understanding that life is comprised of many, wonderful moments…and learning to love them…as they occur.

Rigidly living life…is not really living at all.

These last few days, however, life has slowed down for all of us, almost coming to a total halt.

The killing of 6 and 7-year-olds…an incomprehensible tragedy. I am reminded of that other Connecticut tragedy…the doctor whose wife and 2 daughters were slaughtered, after the girls were savagely raped.

I knew I’d want to write about the devastation in Newtown, but decided to take some time to collect my thoughts. Especially since the area was home to my husband, daughter and me for 13 years before we moved west.

Everything the media says about the idyllic life in the small community of Newtown is true. It’s also true of nearby Easton, Weston, and Redding…our home town for 11 years.

Picture postcards do not do justice to the pastoral settings of these towns. One can only glimpse small slices as an outsider.

Living there is…

…awaking to explosions of fall colors in our own backyard…

…traversing 2-lane country roads on the way to everywhere…

…walking our daughter to the nearby Boys and Girls Club for birthday parties…

…celebrating our faith in a tiny, 100-year-old church…

…marching alongside our daughter and the other Brownies in the town’s Memorial Day Parade…

…selling handmade crafts in the annual fair held on the Town Green

trick-or-treating with friends throughout a nearby cul-de-sac, led by a horse who loved a carrot or two.

I made regular trips to Newtown, 10 or 15 minutes from my home. I patronized its antique shops, reveling in my discoveries. Hollandia Nursery was my favorite destination, where I bought most of the plants that graced the gardens surrounding our 110-year-old, Victorian farmhouse. If you visit http://www.ctgrown.com/html/photos.cfm  you’ll get a feel for the wonder that is the New England countryside.

Until she was 11-years-old, our daughter called Redding and the surrounding communities…home. My husband commuted the 2 hours to his job in Queens, New York, just so our child could grow up in the serenity of a small town. He afforded her the same experience we knew as children growing up in Maui and Oahu in the 1950s.

A dear friend who still lives in Redding, and has been a long-time administrator for a couple of schools, commiserated with me that our daughters would find the world beyond their small-town very different. However I think we’d both agree that our girls learned good-old-fashioned values, the kind espoused in Norman Rockwell paintings.

My daughter, a career ballerina, and my friend’s daughter, a veterinarian, grew up fulfilling dreams held long ago… in a small town in Connecticut. Something no longer possible for…

…james…olivia…ana…grace…emilie…jesse…noah…avielle…caroline…catherine…charlotte…chase…daniel…dylan…jessica…josephine…jack…madeleine.

There but for the grace of God.

Let us love our children with our entire beings, so that they grow up to be healthy adults able to cope with life’s ups and downs.

Death awaits all of us. The date and time are unknown. But how we live all the minutes until then…are totally ours to determine.

…let’s choose to live them…with the joy and simplicity of those wise beyond their years…our children…

Chess Club at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT...

Chess Club at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma.