Thu | Nov 26, 2015

Lesson learnt

Published:Monday | October 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Emma Dalton-Brown, Gleaner Writer

We have all made mistakes, and most of us probably have regrets about them, but the truth is, we have to move on from such incidences, somehow finding peace. However, when such blunders involve our children, it is not so easy to forgive ourselves. Should we even be permitted to do that? And if we are fortunate to be in a position whereby these errors do not lead to loss, does it teach us not to let it happen again?

A month ago, my husband, our son and I were staying by the sea with some friends, who also had kids. We were hanging out outside, the five children playing, and the seven grown-ups chatting while minding them. My husband left the group to go and take care of some chores inside. The five toddlers were accounted for, and continued to play around us.

However, a few minutes later, I suddenly realised that my little boy was missing. Well, I do not have to tell you parents out there how panic swept through me like a tsunami. I immediately started screaming his name, scanning the edge of the water, which luckily was crystal-clear, to see if he had fallen into the ocean. It makes me sick, remembering those moments of utter hysteria and disgrace, because I had lost sight of him, and knowing that I would never forgive myself if something terrible had happened. Up and down I ran, pulling my hair out from sheer worry, calling for my son to answer me. Although I was fairly sure he was not in the water, there was no way I could be certain of that, because the fact was, where else could he have been?

This whole episode did not last long, but of course it felt like an eternity before my husband heard the commotion and cried out, "He's with me." By this time folks, I was shaking like a flimsy tree in a hurricane. The relief I felt, knowing our baby was safe, could not take away the nausea and terror that had engulfed me. I was totally ashamed of myself, begging the father of our child to forgive me for being so negligent. I simply could not believe that I had allowed this to happen.

My responsibility

Apparently, soon after watching his daddy go inside, the wee tyke had followed. How could I not have noticed? Was I subconsciously relying on the other adults to watch over him? It was not their responsibility, and they were busy enough keeping eyes on their own!

To be honest, I am still horrified at myself. I have been a stay-at-home mummy for well over a year, taking excellent care of my child, and often being accused of being too protective of him. How could I have let this betide? Has anyone else ever done a similar thing?

As it turns out, apparently they have. Small children, due to their parents losing track of them for a split second, have ended up being close to climbing out of a window, grabbing a sharp knife, pulling a bookshelf down, grabbing a pot of boiling water, falling into a swimming pool and running out in front of a moving truck. Unfortunately, there are people who have not been as lucky as I was. These momentary points have led to tragedy, which can never be undone, and I pray every day for the people who suffer. Our family escaped a horrific outcome, which could have occurred due to my lack of attention. I wonder how I managed to get a second chance, and every second of the day I am grateful for that. Considering the potential consequences that might have taken place, it was an easy lesson to learn. Thank you. To whomever.