We have all been there, sometimes its best to hide things from your kids, especially if you do not want to worry them or they have no idea what is going on. We found a few stories when children had no idea what was going on, and how close they really were to tragedy.
(Content edited for clarity).
“Once we were driving out to the east coast at night, it was a rainy, my family was sleeping and we were on a rural Pennsylvania freeway. The highway was divided by a steep hill and dense woods. We were in the left lane, and up ahead, I saw headlights coming toward us. I quickly got over to the far right lane-there wasn’t time to stop. They passed me safely in the left lane, but my heart was beating so fast I thought I was having a panic attack. I pulled over and called 911, giving the best description I could. My kid slept through the whole thing, but it took awhile for me to calm down.”
One Way Stop
“My son’s mother tried to take him out of the country while a custody battle was happening with no return date.The police apprehended her at the airport, called me and I picked him up at the airport. He was a little under two. He had a great time but didn’t know what was happening.”
“When my daughter was five she ran into our glass door. I quickly checked her over and she seemed fine just a little shock from the noise and glass going everywhere. Then I noticed a large pool of blood forming on the floor. When I turned her around I saw that she had a large, deep hole in the back of her arm. Without changing my demeanour at all I quickly put my hand on the wound and applied pressure. Calmly I asked my partner to grab a towel and signalled him to go into the next room and call an ambulance. I then told my daughter that something really exciting was about to happen, an ambulance was coming and she was going to get to ride in it and, if she was really lucky they might put the siren on. We sat on the porch, sang songs and hugged her with the towel to apply pressure on her arm. As soon as the paramedics arrived they realised that she didn’t know yet what had happened and played along, “playing doctor” bandaging her arm and didn’t let on at all that anything was wrong.”
“At the time I had a 4 year old son, our daughter was just a few months old and my husband was deployed. One morning I got up with our son and went to the kitchen make breakfast. I noticed our gate was open. When I opened the glass door blinds, there was a guy bent down trying to the door open! I froze. Our son was in the living room totally unaware of what was happening while my daughter was sleeping. I formulated this plan to have my son go out the front door over to our neighbor’s house, while I go get my daughter and hide upstairs with my phone. The guy stopped, saw the look on my face, and started pleading with me to let him use my phone and not call the cops. I backed away from the door, motioned that I’d be right back, and kept backing up into the living room. I got the phone and called 911. By that time he had left. Five minutes later I heard him and the cops yelling at each other on the next road over in our complex. He got arrested. My kids never had any idea what was going on.”
“I used to work for a preschool, all the best supplies and activities, but a bunch of lazy teachers who, at times, honestly seemed to dislike all children. At this preschool, we had forest day. Every Friday, we would take the kids into the woods and just hang out for about four hours. The group would divide into two, one group would stay in the clearing (basecamp) and the other group would go for a walk.
Many of my coworkers were outright lazy and walking was ‘too’ hard, so I was the person that took the kids who wanted to go for a walk on the walk. I only took 10 kids since that was all I was comfortable being responsible for. That meant the other four teachers had 15 to watch. I would walk the kids about a mile to a farm to look at the horses and back again.
One day, when I was walking back with my group of kids, I was about half a mile from our basecamp in the woods when I saw a small figure on the path ahead of me about the enter the woods in the direction of the nearby very busy train tracks. Then I realized that it was one of the three year olds from our school. I ran and grabbed her before she could walk to the tracks and went back to basecamp with the eleven kids I now had.
All four teachers who were responsible for fifteen children were all too busy playing on their phones and gossiping with each other to realize that one of the kids had disappeared. She must have been gone for at least twenty minutes.”
Mean Cow Problems
“We live on a farm and had a cow very appropriately named Mean Cow.
My two-year-old was helping me finish chores, far away from Mean Cow, when I turned around and saw a 1,700 lb. cow with an attitude problem about five feet away from my toddler who was playing with his toy truck on Mean Cow’s side of the fence.
I very calmly told him that he needed to come back right away. I guess I was too calm, because he turned around and swatted Mean Cow on the nose. Mean Cow walked off like she had no idea what had just happened, my kid turned around to play with his truck and I dragged him through the fence while he cried.”
“My father spent all the money he earned on smokes and adult beverages, so mom had to work 2-3 jobs to pay the bills. Dad managed to extend the mortgage without her signature and we were nearly homeless.
On one of my brothers birthdays, we had apple bobbing, mom went to try and dad “helped” her by holding her head under the water. She strained her back and neck muscles trying to stand up and acted like everything was fine so the party wasn’t ruined.
Dad was supposed to be looking after us (we were maybe 2 & 4) and we were in the garage with him when he decided it was a good idea to try to hang himself. Mom came home in time to pull him down.
Dad pulled a shotty on mom twice while we were all at home, manages to talk him out of anything and then acts like nothing was wrong. He would also hit her frequently and she never let us know until after we left and were old enough to understand.
After she finally got the courage to leave him he started stalking us. Mom would tell us to come inside to do something and then call the cops and her brother over to make sure nothing happened.
We were extremely poor after we left so mom would feed us whatever she could afford, grew veggies, lots of rice, pasta, and cheap meat when she could. Never let us realise we were having mince again because she couldn’t afford anything else. Mom would sew our own clothes because it was so much cheaper, she’s amazing at it and would always say how individual our clothes were with their hand painted patterns etc.
I used to do ballet as a kid (until we couldn’t afford it anymore) and would pick up fish and chips once a week after, I went in to pick them up (around the age of 7, would take 2 minutes) wearing my leotard while mom was in the car outside, mom noticed a creepy old guy just leering at me, she came in and told me to go wait in the car with my brother. Told the guy if she ever saw him near me again she would kill. From then on as soon as ballet finished I had to put on tracksuit pants and a cardi no matter how hot it was and I had my brother with me at all times.”
Early Morning Party
“A few years ago, there was a derecho (high-speed straight-line winds) that came through our area. I’ve lived in the East my entire life, and never heard of anything like this. I woke up in the middle of the night to hear our roof rattling and the wind just howling outside. The electric was out. I woke up my wife, and we listened for a little while before we decided to go downstairs.
So, I told my kids (5 and 7) we were going to have a FUN SLUMBER PARTY! downstairs. I got out their sleeping bags, and lit some candles. After about 20 minutes, they had drifted off again, and the wind seemed got even worse.
So, I got the kids up again, and we are going to have a FUN SLUMBER PARTY! in the basement. They went downstairs, got into the sleeping bags, and drifted off again, while I stared out the half-window wondering if there was a tornado or something out there.
Eventually, around 4 or 5, FUN SLUMBER PARTY! was cancelled, and they went back upstairs to sleep. Neither of them remembered any of it, although numerous trees had been destroyed, and more than few houses had lost portions of their roofs.”
Pen Pal Problems
“During the late 80’s our teenage daughter loved reading Teen Magazines. One of the magazines sponsored a pen pal club. My daughter signed up. She sent her picture, name, and address in. The magazine ran her picture and information on two separate occasions. Soon, she received letters from everywhere. She tried keeping up with all her pen pals. She even met one of them in person when she visited our city.
One day creepy postcards began arriving in our mailbox. The words written on the postcards raised red flags within us. My husband and I decided that we’d keep the postcards from our daughter. They were disconcerting and caused us to fear for her safety.
We had an offer to move to a new city for a job that would advance my husband’s career. We decided to accept the offer and move.
My husband had our mail forwarded to his new office address. The disturbing postcards and letters kept arriving. Each was more threatening than the last. The postcards and letters never had a return address. But they had postmarks from a city about 2000 miles away. We couldn’t go to the police. We didn’t want our daughter to be afraid of this man who was writing these awful things to her.
One day the postcards and letters stopped coming. Our minds were finally at ease. Our daughter never knew of the things this disturbed individual wrote to her. We took the fear and anxiety upon ourselves. It was our job, as her parents, to protect her. When it was over, we breathed a sigh of relief.”
Wall Of Fire
“When I was a kid we were living in Africa, in a rural area that gets some serious bush fires in the dry season. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and heard my mother moving around – my dad was away for work – so I went to her. She was standing at her bedroom window, fully dressed, shoes and all, looking out the window. It was pitch black, no lights, except a thick line of bright orange going all the way across the horizon. I asked her what we would do if it came our way, and she laughed and said ‘It won’t.’ I was little enough that I took her word for it and headed back to bed. Later on I found out she stayed at that window all night, trying to work out whether it was coming our way, at which point she should haul us out of bed and throw us into the car. When I think about that night, what I remember is how beautiful it was, because that’s the other thing she said to me: ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ When she talks about that night, she still looks sick to her stomach.”
“Our family was up a mountain logging road when our jeep got stuck in the snow. My wife decided to jog back down to fetch help while myself and my 6 year old lumbered down at a slower pace. While going down, I made a game with my son out of counting how many squirrels we could spot. Why did I do that? Because it was the season when hungry bears were waking up and I wanted him to keep his eyes open but I didn’t want to tell him why.”
Bye Bye High Tide
“While on vacation, we were on a small island off the coast of England, we had gone for a walk with our 2 and half year old daughter. We walked along the beach when we realized the tide was coming in fast.
The path back was cut off. There were cliffs that were too steep to climb. We found some rocks that we led up that got us up onto the land. They were very slippery and I was terrified we would fall.
We made it a game, our daughter had no idea how worried we were.
Looking back it was stupid to have not checked the tide times, I still go over it in my head and beat myself up for putting her in danger.”
“I was cooking on our the gas stove when my 4 year old pulled up a step stool to put a bag of popcorn into the microwave. The hem of her dress caught fire.
I was luckily within arms reach and grabbed her in a bear hug, smothering out the flames between our two bodies.
She was fine. Ran out of the kitchen to play. I sat on the floor and cried.”
“Two of my kids disclosed to their counselor that their stepdad, now my ex (duh), was violating them when I was at work. It had been going on for years. They called me and the police were involved quickly, but in the short yet terrifying interim he knew fast what had happened, and threatened to kill them and kidnap our other kids. Since he had a passport and is a dual citizen the cops were VERY concerned.
I had to get home, grab all of them, and get into hiding with the distinct possibility I’d never be able to go home again. Literally ran through the house and grabbed them, blankies, whatever clothes fit in a bag, a bug out bag of basic supplies and a box of pictures. The youngest kids had no idea, I convinced them we were having a surprise vacation and going on a grand adventure. It worked.
When he got home and realized we were gone he started sending me pics of destroyed heirlooms?, walls, toys, baby pictures, furniture, everything. He called pleading with me to change their minds (and got hit with witness interference felonies too), even though it was corroborated by the abuse center’s medical examiner. He even called my mom and told her he was taking our pets to be put down, but thankfully she didn’t know where we were either (Victim/Witness Program for the win, taught me that fast) and I’d long decided my kids were more valuable than my pets. Anything he could to try and lure us back, he tried. At one point I snuck over for diapers (he cancelled our Amazon order and drained our bank account) and he caught me there, blocked me in screaming that he was going to kill me if I didn’t tell him where the kids were, and I had to call the cops to get away. We were in hiding until they had enough paperwork to file charges and arrest him, and for another week after until they were sure he couldn’t bail out. A million dollar bail took care of that.
He’s in prison now and everyone is in therapy. We were homeless for a while but they didn’t know that either. But for a while that was the most terrifying thing I could ever imagine happening. And we survived, and the unaffected kids thought it was all a silly weird game.”