It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun shone. Erin sat beside me on the front porch, a pot of tea between us. The baby lay blissfully sleeping on Erin's lap. Henry pedaled his bike up and down the sidewalk. And Jane, sweet Jane, ran laps around the peony bushes.
Jane's giggling reached a crescendo as she careened from one of the bushes toward where I sat on the porch. I was so happy in the moment, so joyfully anticipating the hug she would inevitably wrap around my neck. I decided to cheer her on.
Me: Run, Jane! Run!
Those words instantly changed the look on her face from one of pure bliss, to one of pure terror... because, clearly, I had just shouted a warning that someone was chasing her with a gun.
The poor girl tripped over herself to try to climb the stairs to safety. Tripping over her own feet and wild, screaming tears.
(Insert hugging and reassurance here.)