When seven-year-old Vanessa Reed’s school went on lockdown following a bomb threat, the second grader decided to leave a note for her parents in case something happened to her. Scrawled in purple marker, it simply read “Love Mom and Dad.”
When mom Shelley Harrison Reed, who shared a photo of the message on Facebook, asked Vanessa why she wrote that, the girl explained, “In case the bad guy got to us and I got killed, you and daddy would know that I love you.”
Shelley wrote in her post, “I watched a little piece of her innocence get stolen away. To know that my 7 yo was put in a position to think that thought is absolutely gut-wrenching and it’s killing me inside.”
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, which occurred on February 7 at a New Castle County School in Delaware. But Shelley says it was an eye-opening reminder of how scary the world can be for kids.
Tearing up when she saw what her daughter had written, the mom told TODAY, “I hugged her and squeezed her probably harder than I ever have and I tried to reassure her that she’s safe.”
Dad Jeff had an equally emotional response, admitting to the news outlet that he also got misty-eyed. “I am the one who keeps her safe. She’s Daddy’s girl. That was a moment where I realized I had no control over her safety outside of my home.”
So my kids school had a genuine lockdown today. Some whack job called in a bomb threat ???????? Police came and everything…
Now, Shelley says that while Vanessa is mostly back to normal, she’s still overcoming the traumatic experience. Describing a conversation they had at the bus stop, Shelley told TODAY that Vanessa “suddenly asked, ‘Mommy, what if the bad guy comes back today?’ so she is obviously harboring some sense of fear, subconsciously or not.”
That may explain why Vanessa refuses to wash off the note. “She’s even written over it with a different colored marker. If that offers her comfort, we won’t object,” Jeff told Yahoo Lifestyle.