It’s so easy to mindlessly go to that ugly judging place where strangers are concerned. For a second, after the Disney alligator tragedy, I found myself wondering “Where were the parents?!” But of course then I remembered:
The time my 18 month old wandered into the kitchen (we never let him go in there alone) for a few seconds and came stumbling out with a butcher knife in his hand. That’s how we found out he can now reach the higher counters in our kitchen. And how big the butcher knife was. We were right there. We knew where he was. It could have ended badly. But it didn’t.
The time that my 3 year old daughter refused to take a nap so I let her scream it out and then was afraid to check on her in fear of waking her up, finally only to find her asleep standing up stuck between the bed and the wall. I was right there. I knew where she was. It could have ended badly. But it didn’t.
That time when my 4 year old wandered away from us at Downtown Disney. We were all together, holding hands, but it was hot, and my little man was feeling independent, so I let him walk next to me. We went around the next curve to the right, but somehow he followed the wrong people and swerved around to the left and headed back the way we had come, instantly out of site. We were there. We knew where he was. And then he wasn’t. It could have ended badly. But it didn’t.
This same kid at the Grand Canyon, a year older, but nonetheless squirrelly. I turned my back for a second to keep an eye on my other kid and of course there he is, my littlest one, trying to climb over the railing. OVER the railing. At the GRAND CANYON. Thank you dear observant strangers that were with us. We were right there. We knew where he was. That could have ended badly. It DID end badly for another family earlier that week. But it didn’t…for us.
This is 25 years of parenting added up and there are more stories, some I left out, some I have probably forgotten because they didn’t end badly. The zoo mom, the Disney mom, they too could have had a quirky little story to tell when their kids got older, but it ended badly for them. That is the only real difference of which we can be sure.