Two days ago, a child’s death due to being left in the car occurred in my hometown. The child who was identified as a six month old little boy was found almost eight hours into the day. The father had accidentally left him in the car while he worked.
The Facebook perfect parent comments were one after another. Everyone was out to prosecute this father, yet, none offered any compassion. I can not even imagine the hell this father has been living since that day.
I am here to say… it can happen to any parent.
The father at hand was not the usual morning caretaker of the child. He had never driven and dropped his son off at daycare. According to the mother of the child, the child was asleep in his car seat in the back seat when he drove off that morning.
I will be the first to admit, I had my share of forgetful moments as a parent, hell I still do. My children were exactly seven years apart, so when my second child came along I was already at the parenting stage where I could just get up and go. In the early months of my young one’s life at home, there way plenty of moments where I would forget the diaper bag at home, or forget to even place diapers in the diaper bag, I even at times forgot to add extra items of clothing in case of an accident. You would have thought this was my first go about at being a parent.
When my sister had her first child four years ago, I was blessed with taking care of her for the first few months after my sister returned to work. By now, my youngest was ten years old and I had re-acclimated to the get up and go routine. It was a bit challenging, I was also by this time used to enjoying my sleep. I loved watching my niece. She sort of helped me get over the baby fever void I had been feeling at that time. She became a part of my “little” family. My son was in heaven with having a younger sibling. He was the only offspring between his father and myself and although I had my older child (she was now 17), he was raised for the most as an only child.
We watched her every chance we could. Then it happened…my mind was so preoccupied with life stresses, I had forgotten her. Now, let me reiterate that although yes I did forget all about her, she was not in the back seat of a hot car. We had realized when we got to the driveway as we were about to open our car doors that she was still strapped in her car seat inside on the sofa. Thank goodness she was inside a cool home and she was safely in our possession all less than a minute and a half.
I say it again, it can happen to any parent.
About six months ago, I was driving my son to school. Mind you, he was now a teenager sitting in the front passenger seat. He was my daily routine. I literally drove passed his school and forgot to drop him off. And yes, although I realized it about a mile and half later if he would not have realized and said something I would have kept on driving to work. So, I say again, it can happen to any parent.
There is not one perfect parent. We all have some faults and degrees of faults. Instead of judging and crucifying parents, we should learn to show compassion. While I am sure some of these parents intentionally leave their children, I am almost certain a higher percentage of them are truly accidental. Let us show compassion, because they are now having to live with the guilt of an accident for the rest of their lives.