Pedophiles, sex traffickers, car accidents, nut allergies and death have made me a stalker, of sorts. Picture this, October 8th, I am parked discreetly on a side street where I can see the buses lined up to drive Giana to the zoo. I’ve noted the bus number she climbs into and keep a ¼ mile distance the entire 45-minute drive to the zoo. In my head I’ve gone through how I will save her if they crash, I’m wearing jeans and sneakers for agility and only a vest in case there’s a fire. Cell phone is set to dial by voice activation; and I know exactly where every car is on the three-lane highway.
She arrived safe, check. Next on the mission, buy a ticket and sprint into the zoo like a gazelle before the group makes it to the area. The perfect bench awaits me adjacent to the entrance, where I can see her and my entirely covert attire will keep me in the shadows. She thinks she got permission to go on a field trip from school alone, they always do. I spot her; the teacher is keeping the group close as they move through the zoo. She’s being watched well, check.
I’m standing behind a column as her group is petting a llama, and I hear my name. Mama mia, it can’t be! This has been mission accomplished for six years. One of our great friends I spotted coming in (and avoided greeting) calls my name twice and says, ‘is that you’ before I turned around. He and his group of two boys stop so he can find out if I’ve lost my mind. I explain that this is my thing; I have to keep an eye on my kids and I know it’s borderline crazy. He laughs, more in shock than in humor, and tells me he will never let me live this down. Much to my chagrin, I agree to field trips so they don’t feel left out. Truth- I don’t feel totally safe about my kids unless they are with me, literally. There are times I do let the kids see me and say I wanted to surprise them, and other times I get to be agent 003.
Something primal was pumping through my veins when I became pregnant, and I felt an immediate need to protect. The world we live in just isn’t safe for our children.
There is no one that can guarantee the safety of my children, nor would they want the responsibility of a tragedy. I accept that responsibility and will risk my own life for that exact safety. I will not blink an eye without them walking in front of me outdoors, I will keep a safe distance from other cars and not use my phone when I drive, I will look at the people around me as potential abusers to my children and know this world full of variables will be safer for my three if I behave this way. Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo are fully aware of the reasons we do certain things; when we walk outside we call it bird formation, I’ve told them that bad things exist in the world and that I want them kept as far away from them for as long as possible. I may be a bit over the top, but that is okay with me, in honor of three people I wanted to bring into this world.
The key: The instincts you feel deep inside your gut have been placed there to guide your life; follow them ferociously and without apology.
Trina M. Fresco, Vice President of Operations for the IT firm smarTECHS.net since 2007 and NBCLatino Contributor, was named one of “50 Powerful Minority Women in Business” by MEA Magazine. Fresco is the Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women Investment Subcommittee and serves on a number of additional boards & committees. Fresco resides Chicago with her husband, George and their three children Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo. You can contact her at FrescoRealTalk@gmail.com or on Twitter @trinafresco.