Saturday, February 16, 2008

It seems that almost daily we hear stories like this one. I pray that they find this little boy alive and well...but it's not looking so great. And, as much empathy as I have for the parents at this difficult time, one line sticks with me in this story: "the father left the boy for a short period of time and when he returned the boy was gone." Here's what bothers me: The boy is 8, he's from another country and was left alone beside the ocean and a heavily forested area*. Get where I'm going with this? I'm always the evil spirited reader of these stories who looks beyond the absolute fright I feel for the parents to the "what the fuck were you thinking?" thoughts. As awful as it is for me to do that, I can't help it.

I know that it's a terribly cruel thought process that I have that denies unquestioned sympathy for people who have a momentary lapse in their good parenting judgement and leave their child in a dangerous situation (even for a moment). I know my heart should bleed for them and it does...but WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING? also crosses my mind. And I can't help's my honest observation in this. I know it's bad timing while the boy's missing and the parents are obviously frantic, but I really can't help but wonder what makes a Dad leave his little boy in this situation. A sudden need to use the toilet?......take him inside with you. A phone call?....let it ring. I just don't get it.....people, don't leave your kids because it only takes a moment for something terrible to happen. I only hope that it hasn't in this case and that this little boy is found safe so that this father's nightmare can be over. Can you imagine how he's feeling right now? But my first thoughts are with this little boy, who I pray is safe and has just wandered off somewhere.

Again, I know people will roll their eyes at me and think how awful I am to do this when a little boy's missing....but I wish he wasn't and I feel for him. It's important that, as parents, we take every precaution to protect our kids from dangerous predicaments and don't leave them alone if there are risks involved. Sorry, I have to be honest's just who I am.

I can't even imagine the terror in realizing that your young child is gone. I experienced the frenzy that takes place when this happens first hand on Thursday night. I was in Zellers (yes, be quiet) and a bunch of chaos was happening around guards & staff members were frantically running around the store and a very loud Asian couple who were obviously extremely distressed were with them. They didn't speak English so I didn't understand what the problem was and asked the security guard.....he told me that their 6 year old boy was missing. Several minutes passed and a bizarre series of intercom announcements started blaring out over the store. First the mother, speaking in Cantonese and obviously pleading for her child to return. Then the father. No "Amber Alert" type announcement to other shoppers, which I found odd - we weren't filled in at all and it was only because I asked that I knew what was happening. We could've been an extra 100 pair of eyes helping with the search. Most shoppers were completely oblivious to what was going on around them and continued to hunt for bargains. I offered to help the security guy and we began looking under racks of clothes and in changing rooms.

After half an hour or so, the boy still hadn't surfaced and the parents were absolutely despondent. By this time they were on a cell phone, frantically communicating with security staff who'd left the mall to look in the parking lot. Some time later they got a call that gave them the good news - their son had been found on a dark, busy street about 1/2 mile away. Apparently he'd tried to walk home by himself!

I'm not pointing a finger at the parents because, as anyone with kids knows, they can bolt in a store at the first sign of a toy they like. And they're fast little's easy to lose sight of them. And I'm really not wanting to put blame or fault the father on the beach either...I just think we sometimes forget that it only takes a split second for tragedies to happen.

Here's the thing that I want you to take away from this (besides "Deb's an uncaring, cold bitch") your kids every second. When they're little, think before you leave them of what could happen before you do make that decision to walk away, leaving them unattended.

Another story also made me think of the fragility of life and how we should never take it for granted. A mother argues with her daughter in Nova Scotia, goes into a store and comes back out to find her missing. I'm guessing that at that point she assumed she'd gone home or run away. How horrifying it must've been for time to pass and the mother to come to the realization that her daughter was actually missing. And then to be dealt the ultimate blow when she's found dead. What do you think will happen with that poor mother who argued with her daughter as the last interaction they had? That'll no doubt cause her endless nights of pain and sorrow but how could she have known it would be the last time she'd see her daughter alive? We all argue with our 12 year olds. It makes me think (alot). And even though I probably come off as very insensitive and bold in examining these tragic events with a questioning tone, I am taking something very important away from them as they remind me to be a better parent (which I often need reminding of). How selfish that even sounds....that I'm thinking about my life while other's are being ripped apart. Geez, do I really want to even post this? I'm going to, just because....

We never know what that split second decision in life may bring. And my heart & prayers go out to all of these families - I mean no disrespect to any of them in posting these stories. And by no means do I think I'm a perfect parent....far from it. I only hope that we all remember to love our kids an extra little bit each day and to watch over them at every minute...they're too precious not to.

I hope that little boy's o.k. Please, if you're anywhere near that area, go look for him.

*EDIT: In reading more about this, I feel even stronger that this father was somewhat negligent in his role as a parent...apparently this terrain is extremely dangerous - a rocky shoreline of slippery rocks where huge waves crash against them. I'm sorry, but you just don't leave an 8 a 7 year old to fend for himself here...for any reason.

Labels: ,


Blogger Whitenoise said...

Two very sad stories. And, you're right. When you're on duty 24/7, it's easy to drop that guard if only for a moment...

4:11 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

I can't think of anything worse than the death of your child, and to have that as a result of a moment's negligence, well, I don't know how you ever get past that. I suspect you don't.

I had Eva disappear in a shopping mall when she was about 4, and I can honestly say a split second's inattention is all it takes. I will never forget the panic that overtook me until I found her a couple of minutes later and how we both cried and cried when I found her.

My heart goes out to those families.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

w/n....yeah, 24/7's a tough gig at times but in this situation (really rocky, slippery terrain with heavy forest and rogue waves), I just don't get what would make a father "leave" his son for a few minutes??

Barb...sometimes I feel awful that I feel the way I do, but I do. But the guilt that that poor man must be feeling right now must be beyond anything I could ever manage.

I've had a few of my own and nothing makes the heart palpitate more than the sudden realization that your kid's not where they should be. I guess we've been lucky.

10:03 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home