Tuesday, April 28, 2009

that was us

Last week, there was a twenty-one month old child found wandering in a highway in our area. Luckily, the child was rescued by a man driving by. The child was taken into protective custody by authorities. The parents' names' and video of their home were shown on the 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 local news. Tacked onto the end of the report, the station noted that DHS had no prior complaints on the parents.

I do not know these people. They may be the worst parents ever. They might be the best parents ever. Or they could be just average parents trying to survive. Seven years ago, that news report would have been about me. It was a very mild November morning. Kyler was sick. That was back in the day when you gave kids cold medicine. The cold medicine made Kyler hyper--very, very hyper. We were both running on very little sleep by this point. This dose, however, had finally helped him crash, and we were getting some much needed sleep. I had brought him into my king-size bed, because he was so sick.

At around 5:00 am or so, my doorbell rang. I've never opened the door to bad news before, but I just knew this was bad news. It was my neighbor. She was getting her paper. She asked if that was my son walking down the street. Looking past her, I saw Kyler in his diaper, shirt, and boots and carrying his jack o'lantern bucket. I can only assume he was "trick-or-treating" in the middle of the road on our small cul de sac. I ran and grabbed him up, torn between wanting to grab him and hug him and wanting to grab him and scold him. In the end, I did both. (The front door had been locked, but it was the kind of lock that you could still open from the inside. It was replaced that same day.)

It wouldn't have taken much to make a very different ending to our story. Had the weather been colder that morning...Had my neighbor not been up that morning...Had the paper come later...Had Kyler gotten up earlier and been out longer...Had we lived in a busier neighborhood...things could have been much worse. The next time you hear a report of something happening (or almost happening) to a child, please take a moment and realize just how easily things can happen...Please avoid the rush to judge. Please consider just how easily things can happen or that we all make mistakes.

I do not consider myself to be a bad mom (most of the time). I don't consider myself to be a great mom. I am an average mom just trying to raise good kids in a scary world, and I almost lost everything one mild November morning.


Mary said...

Sad that it was all over the news, it happens so much.

My brother wandered off when he was tiny - walked a mile down the road until someone picked him up and found out where he lived and brought him home.

Just a few months ago my nephew decided to leave his yard and wandered off - in just the few minutes when my sister wasn't looking, someone found him and called DHS and my sister has had a terrible time of it with them - house visits and all.

I've probably traumatized my kids because I'm so afraid of it happening to me that I never let them out of my sight- even Rebecca who is 11!

Anonymous said...

oh miss Rachel,
I have soooo been there. When we moved into this house K was around 20 months old, I had to go to the bathroom one day...shame on me...anyway while finishing up I heard the back door open....running out of the bath pulling clothes up as I ran, I found a trail of lil boy clothes leading to the back door. I got the door open and he was nowhere in sight. I grabbed shoes and trying to tie them as i went, got out the door and around to the front of the house in time to see his lil head bobbing between our two dogs as they walked down our dirt road with him hollering dadddy....dadddddyyyyy every few seconds. I called out his name and both dogs split...one running toward either side of the road and into the woods. he fell smack onhis lil naked butt....when i got to him (about 40 yards from me) he was rubbing his hiney and crying...
thank gods back then we only had about one car thru here about every 3 or 4 hours.

momof2 said...

Oh wow. that is so scary. Thanks for posting that story though. It really does show a different perspective on things. My sister walked outside to the end of our sidewalk (which was a few feet from the dirt road we lived on) one night after unlocking the door in her sleep...my Mom just happened to hear the door open and got up to check it out and found my (STILL ASLEEP) sister out there. It scared Mom to death. But you're right...it can happen so easily.

Debbie said...

That is terrifying. I am so happy your story had a happy ending.
That was a great lesson to us all to not rush to judge.