View From Table 9

August 15, 2008

One of a Parent’s Worst Nightmares

Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 10:14 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I think there’s a tendency amongst parents (people?) to believe that we can keep our children safe from the world at all times. If we live in the right neighborhood. Choose the right school. The right play dates. The right babysitter. The right camp. The right activities. If we go to the right church. See the right doctor. Do all the right things. We can keep them safe.

Then, we learn we’re deluding ourselves.

Because this last week, one of our son’s camp counselors – the ‘head counselor’ in his ‘bunk’ – was arrested by the FBI for possession of child pornography.

This is a ‘great’ camp. One from a school that’s been around since before the Civil War. One run by Quakers. Costs a fortune to go to the school and the camp is seriously not cheap. We chose the camp based on it’s reputation and the comments of so many parents we know. We seriously do believe (hope) they did not know what this guy was doing on his home computer. Far too much at stake for them. Of course, we also believe the school/camp has done a crappy job of informing and supporting the kids & parents, citing often the ‘legal position’ they’re in. Sweet Lord, can we for once stop thinking about the potential lawsuits and start taking care of each other.

We’ve taught him about safety and about privacy since he could talk. Certain body parts (we use their real names, not euphemisms) are private – only for Mommy, Daddy or the Doctor. Nobody else’s business. A stranger comes up to you – run. Asking to help find a puppy? Run and yell. Mommy said it’s OK to come with them? If they don’t know the secret passcode, run and yell. Can’t find Mommy or Daddy? Find a police officer, a firefighter, or another Mommy and run to them. See, this is what they look like. Run. No secrets in our family. You will never get in as much trouble when you always tell the truth.

Yet he was not safe.

We made it a point to be involved with his day. Met his counselors, including this guy. Asked them questions. Asked him questions. Checked his belongings, checked his body when he was bathing. Not in a police-state way, just in a parent-being-aware way. How’d you get that scratch baby? Tree. Oh my, that’s quite a bruise. Yeah, climbed a wall. What’d you do today buddy? Who did you play with? What did you like?
Made sure to have conversations with the counselors, look them in the eye, ask about them and watch as they interacted with the kids. My impression of this guy? Immature, somewhat. Slightly strange in a D & D, Sci-Fi re-enacting, heavy metal playing in Mom’s station wagon kind of way.

Then an email, a press release, and blind panic. Re-examining everything that happened over the past 7 weeks. That tiny Go-Go figure he came home with? His reluctance some days to go to camp? Saying he ‘hated’ camp? The special changing arrangement made? All seemingly no-biggie at the time, in hindsight big ‘ole red flags. AAAAAHHH. Dear God, did I unwittingly feed my baby to the lions?

Last night, a visit to a counselor to gently probe and see whether anything untoward happened. Counselor wants to see him again. Next week. Doesn’t want to wait until after we come back from vacation. AAAHH! On the one hand, I get that my son needs to get comfortable with the counselor. The not-so-rational side of me wanted the counselor to spend 15 minutes with him and declare him 100% fine.

So, another week in some kind of hellish purgatory, hoping and praying that maybe after next visit that he’ll have been declared untouched.

Then, living in an unsafe world yet again, teaching my baby not to be a victim, because there are no places where he can be 100% safe. Maybe there never were.

Lastly, hubby and I work on putting ourselves back together again. Dealing with his rage and my blind terror. Hoping all the Kings Horses & Men really can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Because Humpty’s got a son to raise.


  1. I read this a couple days ago and didnt know what to say then.

    I still dont.

    Just sick. SICK for you.

    Hugs, prayers and good thoughts for an all clear from a counsellor and the death penalty?? maybe for the pornographer.

    Comment by Jensboys — August 18, 2008 @ 3:39 am | Reply

  2. I’m also at a loss. My thoughts are with you and your beautiful boy.

    damn, just damn


    Comment by Sugar — August 21, 2008 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

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