I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this but thought it might help someone. So, I’m writing it, not re-reading it, and publishing it without second guessing myself. I should have known better. The child in this story, who took at least 10 years off my life on this fateful day, is the reason we have chain locks on all our exterior doors. A few years ago, I made the mistake of using the bathroom, heard the door open, and before I could even pull my pants up, he was in the front yard. Anyone who comes to our house must think we live in an unsafe area, but it’s to keep people in, not out.
I thought things were getting better. In the grocery store, he’d ride in the toddler Tula on my back, in a car cart or walk beside me. I even had an older gentleman stop me one day to tell me how impressed he was that my son was so well behaved, walking right beside me.
Today, I took my kids (11.5/E, 7/J, 4.5/B) and E’s friend (11) to Adventure Park. In the arcade, B kept wandering away from me (usually I’d find him 5 seconds later sitting in one of the car racing games) so I was following him around, causing J to leave his money in games because he didn’t want to be even 5 steps away from me.
J & B were in line for a ride inside the arcade, so I went about 25 feet away (still in the arcade, right at the enclosure gate for the ride) to put money on E’s game card. Looked up and J was on the ride so I looked at the other cars for B. Not there.
I wander around the whole arcade looking in every game three times. Gather the other kids and say we all need to look for him. Go out of the arcade and see him about to walk outside (in the back where the rides are) with a woman.
Yelled for him & scooped him up & the woman told me he’d walked out the front DOOR. THE FRONT DOOR, down the steps and was getting ready to go in the parking lot, so she got out of her car and brought him in.
I was totally, completely beside myself. I had taken my eyes off him for under a minute. I know it’s not my other kids’ job to watch their siblings but why didn’t J tell me B had left the line? What on earth possessed him to just leave like that?
I am the worst mother ever. I feel awful.
I still have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. He has always been fearless and a bit of a wanderer, but not like this. I’m hoping that it scared him enough that he won’t do it again. He didn’t seem upset but he started crying when he saw how upset I was.
I realized that I haven’t reiterated enough what to do if one of my kids gets lost. I told him if you ever lose sight of me, STAY WHERE YOU ARE! Usually I tell my kids they need to stay where they can see me (in the grocery store, places like Chuck E Cheese etc), rather than where I can see them since they don’t know if I can see them.
There was a post in a group asking moms to share their worst moments in parenting, after the parents in recent tragedies were torn apart. I really couldn’t think of anything. I tend to be hypervigilant and overly concerned about my children’s safety and I guess I’ve just been lucky so far. Today could have ended very differently if it weren’t for the saint that brought my son back inside.
I deserve all the criticism I’ll get for assuming I was safe to leave him in line with his brother for a minute, but hope it reminds other parents that it only takes a minute and things like this can happen to anyone.
— Maria (@chgdiapers) August 10, 2016
What has been your worst parenting moment?