As I sit here typing this, my stomach is in knots. I know how the story ends, happily, thankfully, but I also know what the comments section is going to say. The comments section will be filled with perfect parents who have raised X number of wonderful children over the course of X years, and would never make a mistake, and definitely not a fatal one.
I wish I had that confidence. That belief that my prowess as a mother was enough to keep my daughter safe at every turn, but it’s not. And the one person who could hurt her the most is me.
If you know me personally, you know there is no one I adore as much as my child. She makes me laugh, brightens my days, and is generally the greatest. Even so, last week, I nearly left her in my car when going to work.
Even typing that makes me tear up with the fear and anguish of what might have been.
But before you get the pitchforks out, hear me. I am a good mom. On some days, I’m even a great mom. But I am often a distracted mom. And one day last week, on my way to work, my brain going full speed prioritizing tasks for the day, I forgot to drop off my daughter. I didn’t turn at Woodrow. I breezed right past it. As I went to merge into the turn lane to go to work, I looked in my rear-view mirror, and there she was.
My sweet, perfect, oddly silent child was there in the back seat. It makes me sick, physically ill, to think how this story could have ended. How long would it have taken, alone in a sweltering car, before… I can’t even finish that sentence. I am not one of those perfect parents. So I take precautions.
I have a mirror in the back seat, alarms on my phone, and caretakers who know to call or text if Eliza does not magically show up one morning.
But what if I didn’t?
That thought keeps me up at night. I feel compassion for my fellow imperfect parents who have tragically lost their children to accidents. It is so much easier to assure yourself that you’d never be so careless, distracted, hurried as to forget the one thing that means the most to you.
But I’m here to tell you – it’s possible. So please, I am begging you, take the precautions you may not need, and keep your child safe. What’s the harm?