Do You Know Where Your Kids Are Right Now?
Sounds like a pretty idiotic question, if you're asking any responsible parent right? The world we live in today is just not a safe one, especially when it comes to kids, toddlers especially. I experienced something today that was just unbelievable. I don't think one could express enough the importance of keeping an eye on your children at all times. Okay, given that yes there comes a time when our kids get older and are able to take on more responsibiity. That can even be disputed among parents as to age wise when a child/pre-teen should be left alone or what not.
But this story I'm about to share with you is a bit bothersome. More of a disappointment I guess to know that parents aren't as responsible as they should be. When it comes to watching and knowing where our children are, we need to be pro-active. I'd rather see a parent take extra precautions, rather than be too lax about supervising a two year old.
So I'm driving home and approach my street. As I pass another street that leads out to a main road to my left I notice a little boy on his big wheels tricycle crossing the street. It was a glance, and thank God I glanced that way instead of focusing on any other direction. You see kids often on their bikes around, so at first I didn't think anything of it until I drove past two or three houses and almost reached my own. I thought, wait a minute. That kid seemed pretty small. I looked again in my rear view mirror and noticed that there weren't any adults around. At this time I see a car about to turn onto the street where I saw the boy.
I quickly turned around and was able to stop next to the car that had now stopped in the middle of the road before turning. The lady driving had her window rolled down. Oh good, I think. She's probably with the boy, or knows him. So I asked her through my rolled down window, do you know this kid? She replies that she doesn't. I immediately pulled over and got out to walk towards the boy. It was then that I realized how young he really was. This kid was no older than 24 months or so if not younger! I knelt down so as not to startle him and said hello asking where his Mommy was. He wasn't even able to speak, just babble. So I picked him up carrying him on my hip while carrying his bike with my other hand. I looked around, and saw nobody in sight. I asked him where he lived, just more babbling yet he pointed in a direction to where I noticed the garage open of a house about 4-5 houses down. At this point the lady in the car asked if I needed her help, and I explained that I'd find out where he belonged so she left.
I proceeded to walk towards the house with the garage open. As I got closer I noticed the door from the garage to the house open as well as the front door. (I halfway admit I was thinking at this point, please don't let me enter into some kind of domestic dispute, or what not. But, by that time I had already reached the wide open front door.) I rang the doorbell and in a couple of minutes, a young woman comes to the door (phone in her ear). By the look on her face, this woman had no idea that this little boy had even left the house! In fact she looked kind of shocked that I was standing there with this little boy in my arms. Her first reaction was "Oh I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry...I've been on hold forever with U-Haul and they can take forever." Why she was apologizing to me made no sense. "Yeah, uh- is this your son?" I ask. "Yes, he's mine. Thank you." she responds. "Okay, well he was around the corner in the middle of the street about to approach the main road." I explained. She proceeded to tell me that she was sorry, and that she didn't even live there. She seemed pretty set on the fact that she was trying to get this whole U-Haul thing set up.
She brings the boy inside, and I tell her I'll get his bike (which I had left sitting by my car down the street). As I walked off her lawn, she came after me and at that point realized how far he had gone. Once she got to the bike, I showed her exactly where the boy was in the middle of the road. She seemed amazed.
(SIGH)...I know we all have moments where our kids can slip by quickly and quietly but for the most part from my experience anyway with three kids, I've never found myself in a situation like this. I think it's really important especially with young toddlers to keep an eye on them at all times. At the very least, take the time to think twice about them and their surroundings. When you're at the park, do you kick back and relax and read a book while the kids are on the playground, or do you pay close attention to them, making sure you know where they are on the playground at all times? Little things like this can make a big difference.
The countless posters of missing children always tugs at my heart. I couldn't even imagine the feeling of not knowing where my kids were or if they were safe or not. My story hopefully will bring to light the fact that our kids whereabouts are nothing to be taken lightly, even in the comfort of our own homes. We should always be on guard and aware of our childrens surroundings, especially young babies and toddlers. It is our responsibility as parents to keep our children safe. There should never be an opportunity for any child to go missing in the midst of their own parents supervision. I can only be thankful that it was myself who had crossed paths with that little boy in the street. Better me than someone else to come flying around the corner too quickly enough to slow down before hitting him, or than any other strange adult looking to scoop up a defenseless kid. My heart goes out to all missing kids, and I know that every circumstance is different, but may the message come through to you, that when your kids are under your supervision their whereabouts should be known at all times. Our kids depend on us. It's our sole responsibility to make sure that they don't become one the statistics. And to those responsible parents out there, keep an eye out, you never know what difference it might make for another child.