Earlier this week there was a child abduction attempt in a neighboring city near ours.
It was the kind you have nightmares about - a total stranger, the middle of the day, on the school's grounds where you think your kids are safe.
Every parent's worst nightmare.
Thankfully, this little girl fought him off. She kicked and screamed and didn't stop fighting until some teachers and staff nearby saw what was happening and chased the man.
But he got away.
He's still out there, in our community. Or one a few miles away. Or maybe yours.
The next morning, an email started circulating on social media and in inboxes across the county. An email from the young girl's father, detailing exactly what had happened to his daughter, full of details that the media never mentioned, information that could possibly help identify and locate this disturbed man and prevent another tragedy from happening.
That email spread like wildfire.
It felt like everyone I knew in the area - and miles beyond it - was sharing that father's words. We all imagined for a minute that it was our daughter. Our nightmare.
And we spread it like wildfire.
The next day at pick up, I noticed that the parking lot was exceptionally full. More parents than usual, parking their cars, walking onto campus, standing at those gates to welcome their children into the safety of their waiting arms.
We all felt it in the air. We saw it in each other's eyes. It was like the day of the Newtown tragedy.
We took note of the few kids who were waiting a few extra minutes on their own. We asked who was picking them up before we walked away. We watched as the principal and the teachers kept a watchful, steady eye over every single moving body.
We spread our emotions like wildfire, in the air.
We will protect each other's children. We will keep each other safe. We will not let some disturbed individual make this nightmare a reality...for any of us.
We are a band of mothers (and yes, fathers, of course!) in times like these.
I don't have a ton in common with most of the moms at our school. Our lives are different, our interests vary, our schedules look nothing alike. But this week, these days, we have everything in common. One thing in common. And it's the most important thing in the world.
We are a band of mothers.
*originally published in March 2015, image above via Death to Stock Photo