Friday, May 11, 2007

Just a simple mistake

A few weeks ago, a three year old child was killed in the town where Marcel grew up. In a freak accident, she was run over by her own mother. While her mom was in the store, the little girl crawled out of her car seat and climbed out of the car. Her mom got back in the car, assumed her daughter was still where she belonged, and backed up – right over her daughter. A simple mistake. She’ll have to live with the consequences of that mistake for the rest of her life.

Today I read about another little three year old girl who went missing from a resort in Portugal. Her parents were dining in a restaurant about 100 yards from the room where they’d left their children sleeping and unattended. They checked on them every half hour, but the last time they checked, the door was open and their three year old was gone. A mistake, the parents say – they made a simple mistake.

In both cases, people have commented about the bad decisions the parents made. Shouldn’t they have been more careful? Couldn’t they have avoided it?

Last night, I made one of those mistakes. We’d parked the car on the side of the road at the soccer field. While I put my purse in the trunk and Marcel retrieved his lawn chair, Maddie asked if she could run to the playground. I said “Sure. Go for it.” I assumed she meant the soccer field, which was on the same side of the street as us. She didn’t. She meant the play structure on the other side of the street. As she darted into the street in front of the oncoming van, I realized my mistake, spun around, shouted, and grabbed her. The van slowed. Nobody got hurt. We were all just a little shaken. A simple mistake.

The difference is, I don’t have to live with the consequences of my mistake. I get to play the “oops – messed up - try again” card. Other than reminding myself to pay a little more attention next time, I get to forget anything ever happened.

I hope the parents of those other two children will find grace in their lives. I hope there will be plenty of other parents around them who will admit that they make mistakes too. I hope that, over time, they will learn how to forgive themselves.


Linda said...

I can't imagine what those people must be feeling. I'm so glad that your simple mistake didn't end in tragedy.

melissa said...

Oh boy. I can't imagine that either. So tragic. And I'm glad that you get a "do-over" and everyone is safe.

The Passarelli's said...

God that's horrible.

Years ago on the street I lived on which was a busy street a neighbor hit her daughter crossing the street and killed her. My mother always warn that mother about little 3 year old Thresea running accross the street,but obviously it didn't change anything. There were a lot of kids in that house and maybe she assumed one of the other sisters were watching her.

Horrible memory that I will never forget.

Karmyn R said...

Unfortunately, for the 5 year old in Europe - Today's society has created an atmosphere where we, as parents, must be ever vigilant....leaving sleeping babes unattended in hotel rooms is unacceptable....you never know when a child predator is watching.

Let's hope their simple mistake has taught the rest of us an important lesson.

Beccy said...

What a sensitively written post.Many years ago I left sleeping children in a hotel room, we checked on them every 15 minutes. I'm following the tragedy of Madeline and thinking there but for the grace of God goes I.

andrea said...

Not leaving kids alone in cars and hotel rooms might be considered the plus side to having anxiety 'issues' (moi) but there's nothing like chance and freak accidents to make you realize that there really is no such thing as control of the situation. Thanks for the reminder.

marnie said...

I'm glad your story had a happy ending... I cannot imagine how those parents might feel. I am very sure that their lives will never be the same again.

You hear more and more about this on the news... it's heartbreaking.

Robyn said...

My friend's simple mistake resulted in her son's funeral - horrifying and gave all of us a hefty dose of perspective. I've made simple mistakes too, and am SO blessed to have my babies. I'm glad your precious girl is safe too.

Dorothy said...

We live in that town, and are friends with the extended family. I have never been to such a sad funeral... I wonder how many of us have similar stories that ended like yours - with thanks, rather than tragedy. I know we do - actually very similar to your story, but our little boy ran across the Trans Canada Highway in our case. Funny how quickly you forget, until something like this comes up to remind us how incredibly precious life is... and how short. "how then shall we live?" (Francis Schaeffer)

Joyce said...

I've not gotten that story out of my mind either, because I know how easily it could have happened to us, a million times over.

God grant her peace.

Hazel said...

I shudder every time I hear a story of a "preventable" loss of a child because I know there will be all sorts of judgemental folks out there stabbing the already permantly wounded souls of the parents.

Haven't all of us snatched our children from the jaws of the undertoad? We the lucky ones.