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August 06, 2008


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I can't believe any of this. Hopefully that guy will take one look at your home and your kids and take his carrot muffin and leave. You are a good mother. Your neighbor is a psycho.

Congrats on the baby girl!

I've been gone for a while so I'm just now catching up. You and your family will be in my prayers.

Oh, my dear!! I'm so glad I'm reading this before the meeting tomorrow (initially I thought I was late because it's past midnight). I'm praying for you right now and I'll be praying tomorrow too (although I may still be in bed at 9, if you're in the East Coast). I'm praying that your arrhythmia doesn't bother you so much in the next days (and why not until the end of the pregnancy) and that you don't feel more contractions and your baby girl is fine.

Most of all I'm praying that you find the answers to your most pressing questions of how to act towards a neighbor who did that, how to be Christ-like in this most unsettling of situations. I'm really glad I decided to check your blog before going to bed tonight because I believe in the power of prayer and this is just what you need right now, people praying for you. I'll pray with my husband when I go to bed (I'll wake him up, I think it's important) in a few minutes. And I'll check back tomorrow, after we arrive in MA, probably. I'll be thinking of you, your family, this situation, and praying.

And remember your blog title. This is just a light and momentary affliction, and it'll pass.

My thoughts are with you this morning. Still, I am confident that the interview will go well.

Take care of yourself and the baby!

I will pray for sure!

This better be nothing more than a customary, quick, check -glance over really- to shut the neighbor up.

And that neighbor so deserves a letter, and I think you should file the police report too.

Glad I checked in this morning -- praying for you right now. Praying that things go well with the caseworker and for wisdom in dealing with Nutty Neighbor.

still praying!!!

It's 9:40...praying for you...
You are the most amazing mom I know...
You are the kind of mom I want to be...
People are terrible sometimes...you do not deserve this...

Okay, I think it is now 9:00 your time and the CPS guy is there, so I'm tossing up some Memorares for you. I pray this guy is reasonable and reasonably perceptive, so he can see how ridiculous is the idea that you are a neglectful parent!

Let us know how it goes, unless you can't, of course, in which case we will still keep praying.

I am just thinking good thoughts for you. I know it's a little past 9am your time right now, and I know you're a good parent. It will all get worked out.

Would Jesus give this woman a gift?

Maybe Joe could be persuaded to make some brownies and write a note that says, "As mad as you made me, crazy neighbor lady, you're right that I should look before I cross the street. Thanks for your concern and I'll be more careful from now on." Then he could walk brownies and note over to the neighbor's house.

This is a really, really tough one.

Part of me wants to say "go after the neighbor for kidnapping."

But you're looking for the Christian response.

Always harder, right?

Assuming that the CPS visit and follow up goes okay and they find that there's no problem with you:

Either go talk to your neighbor lady, or write her a (very carefully worded -- don't admit any guilt, for instance, in writing) letter. Thank her for her concern about the safety of the children in the neighborhood. (Assuming positive intent: It *is* good for neighbors to look out for each other, right?) Then go into "I thought you might like to know how it all turned out." Don't, obviously, give any information you don't want to share, but: let her know, within reason, what the results of her actions were. She may be wondering "if any good will come of" what she did. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. Consider carefully whether it would be appropriate to let her know about the stress that it caused you. Would it be more forgiving just to skip it? Or is it reasonable for her to know that a CPS visit is stressful? Do you think she's liable to do this to some other family?

You might also mention that Joe was particularly upset by finding himself restrained by someone from going home to his mother.

Remember that you are, in part, upset because she "went over your head" to the government instead of bringing her concerns to you. Maybe the Christian thing to do isn't to go after her in kind -- but to approach her in person and let her know how her actions affected your family. It is more like what you would have wanted her to do, no? (I think I would have appreciated the heads up if a neighbor came to me directly and said, "Do you know your son has been running across the street without looking?!?")

That is, I think, *a* possible Christian response. (And it's easy to make it un-Christian by using it to get in as many digs as possible or to try to make her feel bad -- watch it.)

Keeping your family in mind this morning.

Oh my goodness! I can't believe she took it this far! What a waste CPS's time and a stress on you! I like the idea of bringing her brownies, though. However, I wouldn't be able to pull it off without including some kind of snide remark in the note :)

I'm sure all will be well -- I bet the caseworker will just be annoyed that he had to check out an obviously happy home because of someone's pettiness instead of doing something useful. I am thinking of you, however, and sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

I also look up to you as mothering mentor. I've been reading this blog since its start and I followed you on your last one as well. I think you're handling this whole situation beautifully.

Good luck!

Oh, I am so upset for you right now. I couldn't believe it when I came over here and saw what was going on.
Breath. Take long slow breaths. Say the rosary if you have time. It's going to be okay.
I think if you are going to write a letter to that woman, it should say something like the following:
Thank you for your concern for my young son and the condition of my family. Since the events of that day I have realized that you were right to be so concerned for him. By making the decision to ask him to walk the final block home for being disruptive in the car, I have brought much distress into the life of my family.
My son was very upset and frightened because a stranger did, in fact, confront him and put their hands on him. A complete stranger grabbed him, and prevented him from coming home to his mother, and that, as you can imagine, is a parent's worst nightmare.
The stress didn't end their, because this stranger that grabbed my child then reported me to CPS. I was so upset upon recieving this information that I began to shake, and almost went to hospital because of pre-term contractions.
My husband and I are dedicated parents who love our children beyond measure. They are the priority of our every breathing moment. But because of the actions you took on that day, we are now even better parents. Before you entered our lives we were innocent enough to think our child was safe walking such a short distance to our home. Now we know how wrong we were.

Anyway, CJ, I hope you're feeling better today.

Posting late to say that I hope the meeting went well. I'll go read about it in a second. But for counseling on a Christian response, who better to give you that feedback than a priest or other church leader that you trust and admire?

Oh for heaven's SAKE, CJ, do these people have so little to do that they get their proverbial panties in a wad over a boy walking a quarter mile home? I do more things in a DAY that could get CPS called on me (my three and a half year old is in a challenging phase right now and let's say my voice gets raised more than it should) than you've probably done in your whole mothering career.

I walked SIX BLOCKS to school, alone, when I was Joe's age. And consistently got lost and no one ever would have thought about calling CPS on my folks. Sheesh.

I'm sorry this happened, and I have no advice on handling it in a Chrstlike way because I would be feeling murderous (this has to be affecting all of you). I like the brownies idea and I LOVE Erin's letter.

Well, I think Erin's letter is an example of "getting in digs" that would not necessarily be the most forgiving response.

I understand the desire to say things like that, though.

Almost three years ago, my husband and I had just moved into our house, literally days earlier, and my daughter, then 2 1/2 exited the house without our knowledge. At about the time we realized she was not in the house, the doorbell rang. A neighbor had walked her up to the door, having found her at the end of our driveway near the street. We thanked her, and were glad that she did so, because our road, though the speed limit is 30, does not have a shoulder and is not pedestrian friendly, and she was only 2, and now we knew that she could get out of the house on her own and we needed a new lock high on the door. Two days later, the doorbell rang again, and I thought, "Oh, it must be a neighbor coming to welcome us to the neighborhood!" But no. It was CPS. I couldn't get over it. I'm still not over it almost three years later. Could that woman not have taken the time to introduce herself? I would have invited her in, and she could have seen for herself that we are not negligent parents, that we had just moved in and that we never would have let our two-year-old out on her own like that. But her first reaction was to call state authorities. I now live in a constant state of alert. Who's watching me? Who's going to report me? It's the worst feeling. The allegations were insubstantiated--but we're in the system now. I hate that.

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