"I'm the mom, doesn't that mean I control everything?" I teased. She disagreed. We were laughing and skipping.
We saw the police car. An upset man standing at the back of the car, making a phone call. A police officer standing at the front of the car talking to a little girl.
"Was this the first time it happened?"
"Yes, sir." As she nodded, the pink barrettes in her hair jiggled and sparkled.
The officer nodded at us as we passed. I noticed a black car parked next to his cruiser, with the back door ajar and two smaller children sitting on the seat.
The air conditioning was cold as we entered the store. Katarina explained why block cheese is better than sprinkle cheese. Chips were buy one, get one free. There was a difference of opinion about how much ice cream is enough.
The table by the checkout line that held orchids for the past month had lilies. Every aisle seemed to be adorned with fuzzy bunnies and pastel colored candy proclaiming Spring is here.
I shoved coupons and receipts in my purse, pausing just a moment to consider cleaning it out when we got home.
Walking through the parking lot, I concentrated on balancing the bags I was carrying.
A scream. Terror, anger, confusion. I turned my head to see that a second police car had arrived while we were in the store. It only took a second for me to understand the scream - they were putting them in different cars - the man with the phone was being escorted to the first car, and the three children were being taken to the second one.
Separate cars. I could hear the crying as Katarina and I walked hand in hand across the cracked lot.
"Mom, you are hurting my hand. Hold it, don't squeeze it!"
"Sorry honey. I didn't mean to squeeze so hard. I just wanted to hold onto you tightly, because I love you."
-Get involved in child abuse awareness and prevention.
-Get involved in sexual assault awareness and prevention.
-If you have been the victim of sexual assault and need help, or you want to help a loved one, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.