My 13 month old fell down the stairs today. I was in his sister’s room, helping her dress as I heard the, “bam, bam, bam, thud” followed by quick and shriek wails. I screamed for my husband and threw myself down the stairs to my baby who was startled, but virtually unscathed.
There was a safety gate above him, and another below. These purchases were made to protect him; our big boy, who is far more adventurous, far more curious than his big sister ever was. But the top gate wasn’t closed all the way and he fell.
“What happened?” my husband whispered as I cradled our crying boy and his big sister watched us pensively from above. She still in a state of half dress, lip quivering as she waited for my response. “The gate wasn’t closed all the way. It was an accident. He’s fine.”
Blame. As a society, as parents, as humans, we are so quick to place blame on another.
Who left the gate open?
Who turned away from the boy?
Whose fault is it?
He’s an unfit parent!
She should have her kids taken away!
From behind the veils of our keyboards we hurl insults instead of hallelujahs. Banding together to place fault instead of rejoicing in the most fortunate outcome. When a story of a child’s accident makes headlines the vitriol spewed by swarms of online trolls is appalling. Sure, there are heinous cases of parental negligence that rightfully should be discussed so as to ensure it never happens again. But can we make a conscious effort to use our village to ensure the safety of EVERY child instead of waiting until an accident occurs to post the, “well, if I was there…”
Well, you weren’t there. You do not know the intimate circumstances. We can wax poetic justice all we want about the would have, could have, should haves, but at the end of the day, a lot more needs be said about the people who stand by and do nothing. We post endless memes about our collective villages, yet lash out at each other and ignore each others kids. Instead of offering a helping hand to a struggling parent we give snide remarks and eye rolls.
The safety of our children should be our utmost priority, but sometimes we will fail to keep them from harm. Your son might run towards a busy street and your daughter might separate from you in a crowded department store. Wouldn’t you love for another person to jump in when accidents occur?
Does it matter really who left the gate open this morning at my home? No. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It was a minor accident. What my son’s tumble taught me is that accidents happen to good parents. I am just glad no one was there to take video of my perceived failure.