I swiped this image off of flickr. It fits the visual I want to make.
This is no place for a toddler to be alone. That's right it is a parking lot and I know all of you mothers will agree with me. I scares me to see children alone in or near a parking lot. And for those who know me in real time, I avoid confrontation unless necessary.
Not on Saturday. Yup. My Mom and I decided to fight with other last minute people on Sat. at the closest outlet center to us. Red purse, brown jacket, stocking stuffers, KISSOLOGY DVD - not a long list - so off we go. Finish in record time. Have a nice lunch. And have had no negative conversation with each other or anyone else. Hey - its Christmas - I was in a great mood. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
We are finished with our shopping and are leaving the outlet complex. Creeping along in my truck and we see a child playing along the sidewalk. I start really paying attention and realize this child is alone (kinda). Mom is leaned against a column with her back to this toddler. The child decides that jumping off the curb looks like fun and jumps off the curb into the street, loses his balance and falls in front of my truck. I am so glad I was not looking for a parking place because had I been the least bit distracted, I would have hit him. He gets up and I blew my horn to get Mom's attention. No reaction. I pull on up closer to her and (much to my mother's embarassment) roll the window down and yell at the lady who's child is playing in the road. Instead of being thankful or even taking the steps to discipline the little boy, she starts to argue with me. I rolled the window up and drove off, I am still praying for the little boy.
I realize that parents are tired. I understand letting your guard down. I know a toddler can get away in a flash. I have teenagers, I know how tired you are. Been there, done that, got all the t-shirts. But you are his/her parent and part of that job is to protect them and teach them how to protect themselves. It is thankless and exhausting. But it is your responsiblity.
I still shudder to think how close I came to hitting a child. I know it would not have been my fault, but I also know it would be devastating to me for the rest of my life. I also know how angry it made me to think that this mother would argue with me when it was her lack of attention that allowed this chain of events to occur.
We nearly had an accident with Molly when she was small. She pulled loose from me walking across a grass area and fell into a drainage ditch. But I was paying attention and broke into a run immediately, along with my Mom and many others who saw it. We caught her before she hit the water. Instead of being angry with those who tried to help, I could not thank them enough. I also took the time to explain the dangers in a way that a toddler could understand.
Please Moms and Dads, watch those children. They grow up way too fast and you only get a small amount of time to give them the tools to take care of themselves. Pay attention. Especially in situations that can easily get out of hand quickly. The next person may be looking away instead of paying attention.
Take your children by the hand.
Adults and teenage drivers. Pay attention. You never know when someone's life and yours may be changed by a moment of inattention on your part as well. My full size pickup has a 21 foot blind spot behind it if a child under 36 inches tall is back there. Know these things about your vehicle and know how to compensate for those blind spots. It is simple to find them - a yardstick - have someone move around your car and make sure where you can see it and where you can't. This little bit of effort could save a large heartache at sometime.
Sorry to choose this to unload that soapbox.
But if this can save one childs life, it was well worth typing all of this.