Two days ago, I was shocked and distraught at the story I read about a one year old child who died in the backseat of a car after her mother forgot to drop her off at the babysitter's house, and then went to her husband's workplace and forgot the child was in the car (because the child fell asleep, I think). Apparently when the babysitter called three hours later to find out why she hadn't gone by, the mom rushed out to the car, but it was too late.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I relayed the story to my husband, watching the sadness on his face, as it must have been a reflection of my own. And then I read all of the comments to the story, where people accused the mother of being a monster, being on drugs, or any number of hateful things that you can think of to say to a mother who just lost her child. And I secretly sat there on the couch and hoped and prayed that nothing like that would ever happen to me... because it could.
I end each day thanking the Lord for protecting my son through my own dingbat actions or inactions. I'm thankful to just make it through each day with everyone in my family still being alive... but mostly my son, because he relies on me. That one's in my court and my husband's court. Maybe all of you moms out there have it all together. Maybe there's no chance in the world that you would ever do such a thing. But I am not like that. I don't have it all together... I barely have a tenth of it together.
Last year my brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he had surgery to remove it. He had described episodes that he was having for months before the tumor was discovered... episodes like forgetting where he was going while he was driving somewhere. Or maybe just stopping for a minute and forgetting even where he was or why he was there. I remember listening to that and thinking, "Oh, it's like mom brain." There isn't a week that goes by where I don't forget everything I own at the house, or forget where I'm driving, or wonder where on earth I left my brain. So, yeah, I've done things that would probably be considered crazy or bad mom-ish... but NEVER have I done them on purpose. And so, as I was reading this heartbreaking story, I thought, "That could happen to any of us. It could happen to me." And don't think for one second that she isn't beating herself up enough without all of the hurling insults from us onlookers.
The first year of my son's life was a total blur to me. Even 2.5 years into his life, I'm still wondering what has happened to my brain. As women, we're expected to have it all together, but I'm here to tell you that NONE OF US DO! We can pretend all we want. We can fakebook all of our glorious pictures of how glorious our kids are, and how glorious we are as parents, but behind closed doors, you know how quickly things can get crazy. Some of us work 40 hour work weeks, come home to work at home, and try to remember all that we're supposed to remember and do and be. And some of us stay home with the full-time motherhood that extends from sun up to sun down and after. I don't care whether you work or not... motherhood is HARD. So, for once, instead of holding each other up to impossible standards, why don't we just hold each other up? Why don't we create a support system and encourage each other once in a while? If I had been that mother, would you be hurling the insults at me, or insulting my mothering skills behind my back, and pretending that you have it all together and that there's no room for grace in my life? Or would you know my heart, and know that I would rather die than to see something happen to someone in my family? What about the people who wouldn't know my heart?
I don't know this mother's heart, but I do know what it's like to be a mother. My heart aches for her. And we all have room to grow as parents. Some of us just haven't seen tragedy, and some of us never will. I'm not saying that we should all be haphazard and just throw caution to the wind with our kids. But deep down in my heart, I know that there's more to this story. I hope there's more to this story. And while I don't know the details, I trust that God does. So I will not be throwing the book at this mom. You can do whatever you want. But be sure to never mess up in your own life because heaven forbid we extend a little grace to each other every now and then. And while you're at it, pray for me... because it could have been me.
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