Splash Pads and SWAT Police: Not A Great Play Date

I never thought I’d see a police man ten feet away from me dressed in SWAT gear with an assault rifle at a park.  But I did. 

I never thought I’d be running with two small children wondering if we were going to get shot in the back.  But I did. 

I never thought I would bang on some strangers door asking to take cover in his home.  But I did.  

Before last Friday morning, these were things that I only saw in the news.  I honestly thought that this would NEVER happen to us.  We live in a safe, nice city. 

What the day started out like.
What the day started out like.

Along with close to one hundred other moms and children we were yelled at by the police to run because there was a man with a gun in the park and he was unaccounted for.  We didn’t know where he was, or why he was there.  Many of us didn’t have shoes on (we were playing at the splash pad), purses, strollers or anything else.  I realized I didn’t even have my phone to call my husband.  But, we had our kids and each other.  That was what was most important.  

Finally, after a kind man let many of us take shelter in his home (we had run close to a half a mile not knowing what was going on) it hit me what was really happening and tears streamed down my face, and I realized I could not stop shaking. My thoughts were on a continued loop:

  • Are we far enough away?
  • Should we close drapes on the windows?
  • Is this a joke?
  • Are the kids okay?
  • Does Charlie (my four-year-old) even know whats going on?

My friends and I were passing around a phone to try to call our husbands and keep the kids occupied.  

Police blocking the street in front of the park.
Police blocking the street in front of the park.

In the end, several hours later, we were safe.  The man had taken his own life.  But, who knows what his intentions were in the first place. He brought a loaded gun into a park.  A PARK.

Our husbands came to pick us up and we left our cars behind (the area was still blocked off- we’d have to come back).  At least Charlie had the thrill of his life driving in the back seat without a car seat.  All I wanted was my home and a hot shower (and a big glass of wine).

Finally safe in dad's car.
Finally safe in dad’s car.

I cannot let my mind wonder to even imagine what COULD have happened.  I am beyond angry, frustrated and feel helpless.  What do I do?  Never leave the house again?  Carry a stun gun with me at all times?  Buy kid sized bullet proof vests? Live our lives in fear? No.  That’s not me.  

Several people have told me that they believe this our new reality.  I refuse to believe that.  We are so much better then that.  My reality is that I am raising children in an amazing world with incredible people.  I know there are people that are bad, wounded and determine to make others feel that pain too, but I will continue to raise children who will make this world better.  They will help people who need it and get help when they can’t.

I know some people will think that is not enough.  Prayers and good hopes for the future is waste of time, but I think they are wrong.  With one persons bad intentions, I also saw the amazing part of our world I’m talking about.  The cops who took the time to comfort my friend’s child who was terrified.  He made him feel safe.  The neighbor who, without question, opened his doors and let STRANGERS in need into his home.  The father (I’m still am not sure who it was) who helped me get the stroller my baby was in over the fence when we were all panicked.  The moms who helped each other out.  Sharing water, diapers and snacks that were much needed.  And, to the friends I was with, my tribe, my village.  We took care and watched out for each other’s children like they were our own.  

Because of all of that, I know the world is still an amazing place.  I will do my best to make sure it stays that way for my children and our future.




  1. Sounds like my exact experience Meredith! We did it together girl! I can’t stop thinking of what could have happened, but I have learned to stop thinking of that. Life goes on and we have to be grateful that no one was injured. A must mention, a mother’s adrenaline is unstoppable. Go
    Blue ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I’m so grateful that we all got through it together. Seriously, the mother’s adrenaline is a real thing!


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