When we moved into our new home our daughter was 7. I immediately made an escape plan out a back window incase of emergency. I didn’t know why at the time. I thought, fire, maybe. I wanted my daughter and my dogs to be able to get out quickly. I took the screen out of her window and she was given instructions on climbing out of the window with the dogs and running to our neighbor’s house. Teaching the dogs to jump out of the window took all of one try! Then that window became the window they would randomly jump out of to chase squirrels and then jump back in when they were finished. It was quite the novelty!
My neighbor became a “guardian” of sorts. That’s just how I labeled him in my mind. He would call me if he saw a car he didn’t recognize in my drive way. If he hadn’t seen me out walking the dogs, he would call and check on me. After I was diagnosed with a muscle disease, it gave me comfort knowing that he was right next door. I told my daughter, if anything happens, you always go next door. My neighbor was an integral part of the escape plan. My dogs fell in love with him. They would see him pull in his own driveway and bark so he would walk over and pet them. During my dog Jessy’s final days, he still walked over to the neighbor’s house, and was welcomed in the front door. The truth was I wasn’t as afraid of a fire as I was a man breaking in. With my escape plan set, my daughter and dogs would escape and be safe at my neighbor’s house, where he would then come and rescue me.
My neighbor called yesterday to tell me he was moving. I almost started bawling. He was the “guardian” and could not possibly move. But he did. That exposed feeling of knowing my neighbor would nolonger be part of the escape plan, brought an awareness I had not had before. I never had an escape plan as a child. I had no escape.
Coincidently, while looking for my daughter’s earrings in random drawers, I stumbled across my old passport.I looked at my face. I let out a huge sigh and sat down.
I took a picture of it for this post and then threw it in the garbage. I dont want to see it again. This was the age I was living life as a little girl being molested on a weekly basis. This was the passport used to go to CostaRica where more abuse happened. To see how young I was, pains me. I had NO escape plan when I was at an old man’s house cleaning it in exchange for ski lessons. When my parents sent me, this little girl to that man’s house, she, I, was sent alone to the monster’s den.
I had no guardian. I had no one to run to. I had no window to jump out of and I had no one that would check to make sure I was okay. I understand the open window now and teaching my daughter exactly what she needed to do incase of an emergency. It wasn’t for a fire. It was just giving her a plan, instruction, peace of mind, and a person for her to run to. I never wanted her to feel trapped. I wanted to provide her with something that no one provided for me. I didn’t realize that until my neighbor told me he was moving. I didn’t understand the depth of the need I had for my daughter to feel safe. I also realized that in my plan, I was always left at home. I planned for my daughter to be safe, while I was left behind, until my neighbor would come and save me. I don’t know why, in my plan, I left myself behind. To fight the bad guy so my daughter would be safe? Or because being left behind is all I knew? Either scenario did not have me as a part of my escape plan. I think I need to come up with a new plan.