Playpen Diaries: Trying to relate to the un-relatable

Lyndsay McCready
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It is a parent’s worst nightmare. You drop your children off. You say I love you. You assure them you’ll see them later and you wave as you slowly pull away — hours later you realize that may have been the last time you see, hold or speak to what is most likely the most important person in your life.

The playpen diaries

Just the thought of this is enough to take my breath away. Enough to remind me to never take one second with my children for granted and enough to ensure that every time I have the privilege to hold them in my arms that I take an extra second to squeeze them a little bit tighter.

I never realized how much love one person could have for another until I held my children for the first time and I honestly don’t want to imagine the pain my heart would have to endure if that love was ever taken away from me.

It has been a week and a day since Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents went missing from a southwest Calgary home.

While the details surrounding the disappearance are still a mystery to the public, police have alluded the case is more clear now than it was in the early days of the investigation.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance, as a parent my heart breaks a little more each day for everyone involved, especially the parents.

I don’t want to even pretend for a second that I know how they feel because I don’t. I can feel for them and I can hope for the safe return of their son, but the reality is, my children are safe. I get to hug them, kiss them and tuck them into bed each night. If they cry out because they are scared I am there to sooth them and I know where they are right now and that they are safe.

For the O’Briens, there is nothing but unanswered questions, the emptiness of the unknown and the helplessness of not being able to do anything but sit and wait.

For over a week these parents have had to cling to the hope that their son will come back to them alive and well, but it is hard not imagine the worst case scenario has unfolded as the days pass.

It is situations like this that make being a parent that much more difficult. It is already hard enough handing over your parental control to someone else. Whether it is a grandparent, trusted friend, or daycare, knowing something could go wrong while you are not with your children is a fear always lingering in the back of your mind.

For most of us, we push those thoughts and feelings as far back into the subconscious as they will go because if we let them creep any closer to the forefront of our minds, they will consume and cripple us.

We can’t relate completely to what these parents are going through, but we can relate.

We know how much a parent loves their child. We know how the desire to protect a child can be all consuming. We know the fear that lurks within whenever your child is not with you and we know how truly blessed we are every time our children are returned to us safe and unharmed.

The outcome of the Calgary case is still unwritten and a happy ending is still a possibility.

Until I read, hear or see any different, that is the outcome I will hope for, not only because that is what this family deserves but because that is what this five-year-old boy deserves.

He deserves to run into his mom’s and dad’s arms, feel their love wrap around him and know he is safe.


Geographic location: Calgary

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