Okay, today’s post is actually very hard for me to write. So difficult that I literally had to wait five days to do it. I’ve had nightmares about it twice and have literally bullied myself into submission. And no, I’m not being dramatic.
Friday morning I was on my way to set up for an event, and I brought everything out onto my front porch. Mr. Nicholes was long gone to work, and Mighty Mouse was already in school. So that left me, the ladybug, and the supplies that I had to load into my car. Well, my brain said to bring the boxes out – down the stairs and lock the gate so that the ladybug couldn’t get out, but I could still keep an eye on her as I loaded the car.
Apparently almost two year old children have the dexterity of a contortionist and mine happened to grow another five inches and shrink back down in a two minute time frame. She did this is enough time to exit the front area, and try to follow me out into the street to get into the car. At the same time that a school bus was approaching.
I heard a call for “mommy” and turned around to the sight of my daughter stepping out into traffic exactly as a 23 foot school bus was about to meet her in the street. I literally had a heart attack in that moment, and before thinking rushed out into oncoming traffic (which I now realize was the WORST thing to do) and almost got hit myself. It just was a really bad morning for me on Friday. A REALLY, REALLY bad morning.
It was enough of a blessing that the school bus driver saw her leaving the front yard a half a block down (amazing is more like it) and started slowing the closer she got to the curb. He blocked her in between two parked cars so she couldn’t come out fully into the street, and stayed there until traffic allowed ME to cross. By the time I crossed the street I was visibly shaken and the ladybug started crying because she thought that something was wrong with ME. The bus driver asked if I was okay and I said yes while simultaneously crying.
However, that wasn’t the kicker. One very “concerned” motorists decided to stop and ask me if the ladybug was my child. I turned to him and stated yes and that she was okay, she never made it out into the street – and the next thing out of his mouth was:
“Well, then, you need your (expletive) beat!”
I couldn’t process correctly so I asked “What?!” and he stated it again.
He also proceeded to tell me that he was tired of seeing silly (expletive) (expletives) laying around having babies while not watching them.
Well, the entire situation already had me up in arms, and I just started crying harder. I couldn’t help it. I just couldn’t help it. I already felt like a fool for not double checking the lock on the gate, and then I felt like a COMPLETE idiot for not looking up in enough time to see my child walking towards the street, and now I was standing on the sidewalk getting berated by a guy who didn’t know me from Adam and I felt his words cutting to the core. I mean, he was correct, right? Any great mother would have known how to balance her daughter, a box, and other things on her body to load the car – and continue to do so.
I played several ways that I could have handled the situation in my head and yelling back seemed to be the right answer at that moment. Not now, but at that moment it did. Didn’t he see how shaken up I was? Didn’t he see that I was basically sobbing while thinking in my head what would I be going through if that school bus didn’t see my daughter? Didn’t he realize that. And then finally it dawned on me. He really didn’t care about my daughter. He was swearing in front of her and berating her mother. He just wanted to make himself feel better than me by yelling at me to do the right thing. Should I have double checked the lock? Of course. Could any other parent have done the same thing that I did and have the same outcome. I’m sure. But what hurts the most is that I was that parent. I shouldn’t have been, and I’m still kicking myself over it.
My husband said something important to me that day when I called hyperventilating into the phone while he was at work.
First question was – “Is the ladybug okay?”
Me: Yes! But I let her out of my sight!!!
Mr. Nicholes – You do realize that she is okay, right? I mean, the guy was a jerk, it was a mistake, and we learn from them, but you’re not the first to do it. Now, I need you to breathe.
I can’t say that I’m not going to still refer back to that Friday morning and still get a bit teary eyed at my obvious lack of focus, but I can say, that I really do honestly give thanks to God for watching over me and my children, and for allowing the bus driver to be who he was. Any other person may have been flying down my street and not even seen my baby.
And now, I have to find things to do to take my mind off of being in the Bad Mothers Club.