Kim Benefield is a Mid-Cities single mom of two girls, Natalie, 8, and Olivia, 5. Benefield, who is set to marry fiancé Jason in the fall, is the center coordinator at Hurst’s Alliance for Children, a child advocacy center in Tarrant County.
6:15AM No need for an alarm. Olivia is at my door asking to get in my bed and watch TV. She’s followed by her sister. I get up and get ready while they lounge.
6:35AM Another debate with Olivia over what to wear. I try to explain that long sleeves will be too hot for summer, but she insists.
6:45AM Serve frozen waffles and oatmeal for breakfast. I brush the girls’ hair and gather the backpacks for a day at camp. Today is “splash day,” so swimsuits and towels must be gathered too. I wonder if I can plan a “splash day” at my office?
6:55AM Clean up kitchen and pack lunches for all of us.
7:07AM Get a “good morning” text from Jason.
7:15AM Announce that it is time to get in the car. Natalie sees that her tomato plant has been neglected and needs water. She says, “I have to water it or it will die!” There are tears. We water and dash out the door.
7:22AM Drop them off at their dad’s. Camp starts at 9 and I have to be at work at 8 to meet a client.
7:28AM Call Jason. We talk about our day and realize we won’t see each other today.
7:44AM At work. Decide to check some e-mails before the client shows up. Our child forensic interviewer and a Grapevine detective arrive to wait on the client as well. We talk a little about this case and other investigations that are going on.
8:02AM Welcome client and go through paperwork. She has three children and they are already playing on the train in our lobby. It amazes me how resilient kids can be — no signs of abuse or trauma.
8:09AM Our family advocate talks to the mom about the services she has available to her through Alliance for Children while she is going through this crisis. I hope she takes us up on the counseling we offer.
8:26AM I pack up for my morning presentation. Today it’s a summer program to teach NetSmartz, an Internet safety program.
8:30AM Stop for my first Sonic drink of the day — a Diet Coke with lime.
8:45AM-12:30PM I present to kindergarten through fourth-grade classes and then a small group of sixth-graders. The sixth-graders seem to know it all and are not fazed by my presentation. I tell them a story about a local girl being abducted by someone who cyber-stalked her on a social networking site. Several kids then confess they have had someone they met on the Internet ask to meet them in person. Hopefully they will think twice about how they spend their time on the Internet after today.
12:30PM I head back to the office, but I’m lured in by Subway. Somehow their sandwich sounds so much better than the one I packed just this morning. I justify that we’ll eat at home tonight.
12:38PM I grab a ride with Stephanie (our child forensic interviewer) to a Child Abduction Response Team meeting.
1-2PM We plan a mock child abduction to make sure everything is in place in the event of a real abduction.
2:11PM Return to office to plan a team-building activity for our partner agencies Child Protective Services, law enforcement, Cook Children’s Medical Center and the district attorney’s office. Our community liaison and I throw around ideas.
2:17PM Text Jason to see how his day is going. He’s playing golf — I’m not jealous for once because it’s 100 degrees.
2:18PM I schedule six personal safety presentations for the fall.
2:33PM Stephanie stops in to chat. Her birthday is in a month, and she wants very specific presents. I tell her I will see what I can do. Not satisfied with that answer, she e-mails me her list. She is persistent (it’s something we like to joke around about!).
2:53PM Talk to my mom about renovations to the girls’ bathroom. She has found some cabinets, but they are not what I had in mind. Frustration.
3:02PM Schedule two evening presentations of Stewards of Children, our child sexual abuse prevention program for adults. One night they want the presentation I have the girls. I schedule it and hope I can find someone to fill in for me.
3:03PM E-mail associate director and center coordinators in Fort Worth and Arlington for help.
3:04PM Associate director says she can fill in for me. Yeah!
3:05PM Shut down to go pick up girls at summer camp.
3:27PM Arrive at school first in the carpool pick-up line. Enough time for a 3-minute power nap.
3:31-3:46PM I hear all about the girls’ day on the drive home. Olivia got to be line leader and Natalie has a field trip the next day. Olivia is upset Natalie gets to go on a field trip — “it’s not fair!” she insists.
3:47PM Stop for Sonic drink No. 2.
3:55PM Go to the grocery store for dinner items.
4:07-5:33PM The girls play while I clean and get ready for dinner. Only one major argument over who owns a certain toy.
5:34-6PM When we eat I always ask them what happened each day that made them happy, sad or mad. Tonight, Olivia asked me what made me happy. I told her that being able to pick them up made me happy. She tells me that made her happy too, but she is also happy when Mimi (her grandma) picks her up because Mimi buys her things. I can’t blame her!
6-6:30PM The girls work in their workbooks and Natalie does some reading.
6:30-8PM The next hour and a half are spent playing charades and Scrabble and getting ready for tomorrow. Olivia cuddles with me and twirls my hair while we read a book.
8-9:30PM We pray and then it’s lights out. I call Jason to catch up. We hang up and I fall into bed. I don’t bother setting the alarm clock … I know one of the girls will do that job for me.