As I child I developed an intense fear of robbers. I figured they were coming for me and it was just a matter of time. I imagined they’d arrive in a pack of three. The leader would be the tallest and meanest and his two associates would be plump and gruff. They’d wear black bandit masks except for the head guy who’d be dressed in prison stripes, dark sunglasses and a top hat. The image was terrifying. There were several doors into my bedroom so I was never sure which way they’d enter.  If they came in the door farthest from the bed I knew I could escape out the back and hide in the crawl space beside the oak desk in my dad’s office. If they came in the door that was closest there would be no place to run.

So I came up with a plan: If the robbers entered through the “close door” I’d jump out of bed and give a friendly wave. “It’s about time,” I’d say, “I’m a bad guy too. I’ve been hiding out in this house all these years…just waiting for you. I know where all the good stuff is so follow me and I’ll help you rob the place. Oh, one thing, the family here is really nice, they’ve been good to me so don’t touch them. They’re heavy sleepers.  They won’t wake up. If they do, I’ll tell them the commotion was just me getting a glass of water.”

Following the speech I’d help the robbers loot the house but save my family in the process. The robbers would be happy because they’d get all the goods and my parents and sister would make it out unscathed…win-win for all.

As I got older and eventually moved away from home I became even more advanced in my robber defenses. By now I’d seen a lot of movies highlighting very crafty robbers and I knew the way to get them was to throw them off their game right off the bat. I figured booby-traps were my best bet.  The robbers would be cruising right along jimmying open a window or picking a lock when… WHAM!  A bucket would fall over releasing a dozen marbles that would send them tripping into a pair of scissors mounted in the seat cushion of an easy chair.

My husband was not a fan of these contraptions. He once got stabbed in the gut by a candlestick and fell on a trip wire I’d fashioned out of some twine. It was proof that my booby-traps were effective, but also proof that I’d gotten carried away. The robber obsession had to stop.

And for a while it did.

But the other night I was home alone with my daughter and I heard a noise, it was the sound of our door slowly opening with an elongated creak. I stopped in my tracks, my daughter glanced up at me with troubled eyes. I quickly swooped her up into my arms and stood like a warrior.

With little time to think I raced over my options:  It’s too late to build a booby trap, there’s nowhere to hide, and a robber would never believe I’m a bad guy while I’m lovingly cradling a toddler.

And just when it seemed that all was lost I realized I had one option left, something I had never thought of before- I could fight.

All at once I started to feel this surge- like I could move a Mac Truck with one hand. The desire to protect my child was so strong I felt like I could defeat any robber, even if he were a giant robot robber or a zombie robber or a vampire robber with supernatural strength. I could take them all. I felt like The Incredible Hulk.

I puffed my chest and took a step out of the room.

The door slammed closed, then open, then closed again. If this was a robber he or she was certainly not interested in being sneaky. “It’s a shitty robber,” I thought to myself. “According to the movies shitty robbers are the most dangerous of all.” I sang a quiet song to my child as I rounded the corner and then set her down behind me. If there really were a robber I would see him…now. I jumped in front of the door arms akimbo and feet ready to kick. The door opened wide and then slammed shut in my face. A set of maracas blew off the bookshelf, a picture rocked on its hook.

This was no robber…this was the wind.

“Silly wind,” I giggled nervously to my daughter.

“Silly wind,” she echoed.

As I put her to bed later that night I felt this very specific closeness, like when I first found out I was pregnant and wanted to hibernate to make sure she stayed safe all those nine months she was growing inside me.  When I finally left her side and walked to the back door to lock up for the evening I made sure to look out the window with an extra threatening look-just incase someone with mal-intent was hiding in the bushes.

“Listen You!” I said with my eyes, “Come near my kid… and I’LL TAKE YOU DOWN.”