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where is Madeleine McCann?


What a sad, sad story. I heard of Madeleine's disappearance about a month ago on Fox News, I believe. I was surprised to learn, after surfing the web, that she vanished back in May 2007 and I hadn't seen anything about it until August 2007. Granted, I don't watch much television, however, I am on the internet daily.

The brief history of this story is as follows: On May 3 Madeleine disappeared from her bed while on a family vacation in Portugal. She was sleeping in the same room with her brother and sister, two-year-old twins. At the time of her disappearance, her parents were having dinner in a restaurant about 50 yards away from the apartment where the children slept.

The parents are quoted as saying "We could see the apartment where we were. The kids were sound asleep and we were checking on them regularly." In response to public criticism they have said they did what they thought was reasonable at the time.

Since then, Madeleine's parents have conducted an extensive publicity campaign to bring awareness of her disappearance to the public and to hopefully result in her safe return. The McCanns, who are Catholic, have met with Pope Benedict XVI in which he blessed a photo of Madeleine and prayed for her safe return.

Just yesterday Madeleine's mother was officially named as a suspect. There is speculation that Madeleine's father will also be named as a suspect.

Certainly public opinion is against Mrs. McCann, a 39-year-old doctor from England. She has been emotionally stoic throughout the last five months or so and some have pointed to her lack of emotion as evidence that she had some part in her daughter's disappearance.

Aside from the obvious concern I have as a parent, I find this story taps into my fear as a 39-year-old mother of three small children. What if that were me? How would I react?

I am leery of condemning another person, simply because I know I do not have all of the facts. I have had passing thoughts of literally running to the corner store (located about 50 yards across the street from my house) to pick up a gallon of milk while my baby napped in her crib and the older two were at school. The thought entered my head and then I chastised myself for even thinking it.

So when I heard about Madeleine's parents having dinner and periodically checking back on the children I had two thoughts. First, I have considered something like that before. Second, the thought of acting on that truly puts a knot of anxiety in my stomach.

Ever since I became a parent my outlook on life has changed drastically. I do feel the gravity of raising loving, healthy, happy children every day. As you know, parenting a child is a huge responsibility and the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life can sometimes overshadow how miraculous every life is -- young and old. It's just so much easier to see how frail and innocent a young life is.

I try to love my children through their tantrums and disappointments just as I love them through their happiness and contentment. It can be challenging.

At times, I joke about finding the receipt for one of them so I can returning the angry, screaming child back to the store. But I simply cannot imagine holding my daughter's favorite stuffed animal, which she named Blue Bear, and having that as the only tangible reminder of the girl I have fiercely loved in good times and bad.

It must be terrible.


2007-09-08 at 6:27 a.m.

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