This blog is dedicated with love to my missing daughter, Michaela Joy Garecht. Michaela was kidnapped on November 19, 1988, at the age of nine, and she is still missing. I will never stop looking for her. I will never stop loving her.
After my daughter was kidnapped, I received many requests to speak to groups of parents or children on the subject of child safety. I always kind of wondered about this, because I had failed to keep my daughter safe. Whatsmore, in Michaela’s particular circumstances, there would have been nothing I could have done differently, except to keep her locked in the house, confined to the yard, allowed out only under my supervision. And yes, that is an idea, and it is entirely appropriate for certain ages. But I have had five kids grow up on me, and eventually that tactic fails. You just cannot keep a 22-year old confined to the house. And yet, you think they are not in danger? After Michaela was kidnapped I read the book The Stranger Beside Me, about Ted Bundy, and I kind of collapsed within myself. All his victims were college students. Was there ever a time when I could say, “okay, they are safe now”? Nope. There wasn’t.
This is part of what makes being a parent so special. And yes, I do mean to use that word. There are lots of ordinary kinds of love in this world. There are lots of extraordinary kinds of love also. But there is absolutely nothing like the love you have for your child. There is that saying I am sure you have all heard, that being a parent is like having your heart walk around outside your body, and it is true. So how do you handle this? (... continued here)