Thursday, June 9, 2016

Life Can Change in an INSTANT

Something happened last week that I simply cannot get off my mind. 

As a parent, I often think of worst-case scenarios. I don't want to, but they hit me in the darkest hours of the night and the mere thought of those incidents makes my heart freeze in my chest. Last week, one of those worst-case scenarios almost happened to Liam.

055

I didn't make a big deal about it at the time, but the reality is, it WAS a big deal and it could have ended far differently than it did.  Fortunately, that worst-case scenario didn't happen and I was given the chance to learn from the incident.

049

Liam is a runner. Dylan, Lexie and Lily were not. This is completely new territory for me as a mother. Liam is fiercely independent, he loves to explore, and if he sees something that sparks his interest, he will head toward it at top speed.  He has no fear whatsoever.

060

When you have more than one child, you quickly learn that every child is different and that you have to adapt your parenting style for each child. With Liam, I have to give him room to explore within reason, but also stay close enough to guide him out of harm's way. I try not to be a helicopter parent, but I also know that I can't let my guard down when we are outdoors or in a public place. Some situations call for me to follow closely behind him and some situations require him to be in a stroller or a shopping cart.

 104

Liam is that typical toddler boy who would step off a 6 foot ledge, with a huge smile on his face, just to see what would happen. He would also walk directly into the arms of a stranger.  He is just a little toddler tornado who wants to roll around in mud puddles and explore his world.

131

Last week, Lily, Liam and I were playing in our backyard. Lily and Liam were riding around in their Power Wheels Jeep while I was trailing behind. Lily stopped at the back corner of our house and jumped out so I could tie her shoe. I glanced at Liam and saw that he was pressing the buttons on the dashboard, so I bent down to quickly tie Lily's shoes.

20 seconds. TWENTY seconds was all it took for Liam to disappear. I stood back up and he was gone.

093

I didn't panic right away. I immediately headed over to look in the playhouse, because that's his favorite spot. Not there.  I looked on the porch. Empty. The playset was empty, too. At that point, my heart started to beat faster.

That's when I heard Lily's shrill scream. "LIAM!!! STOP! LIAMMMMMM! Stay off the road!" I have never heard fear in her voice like I heard at that very moment.  My heart stopped beating and dread filled my soul.

The only thing I could picture was my tiny two year old standing in the middle of the road, just waiting for one of cars that often sped past to hit him. I sprinted toward the front of the house, bracing myself for the worst while praying to God to keep him safe. There he was at the edge of the yard, so close to the road, and taking steps to go even further. It felt like time slowed down as I raced toward him. I truly didn't think I was going to make it in time.

091

Lily reached him just before I did. She grabbed his arm and held on with all her might. I reached them just seconds later, and pulled them both into my arms.  I was a shaking, sobbing mess. All I could do was hold both of them as tight as I possibly could while thanking Lily for being such an amazing big sister.

The entire incident, from start to finish, was less than 40 seconds. 40 short seconds that could have changed our lives forever. I have never felt more fear than I felt the moment I heard Lily scream.

We immediately went inside and I called my husband. I was still shaking and high on adrenaline as I told him, "That's it. We need to fence in the ENTIRE yard."  Because with kids, you can never be too careful. I know I won't feel comfortable until I know my son is completely safe while playing outdoors.


122

I'm not going to add much to all the discussion over the gorilla incident. But I will say this. There is NO such thing as a perfect parent. These things can-and DO-happen to ANY parent. Even the most attentive ones.  Toddlers are fast and they have their own minds.  Even the most well mannered child can have moments where they lose control.  Fortunately, most parents are given the chance to learn from these incidents.

It saddens me that a gorilla lost its life. I'm an animal lover, but the reality is this: Human life over animal life. EVERY SINGLE TIME. The general public is not the expert in the matter. The zoo made the decision it felt was best and a child lived. End of story.

It wasn't the mom's fault or the child's fault. It was real life and it happened in an INSTANT. Anybody who has/had a toddler knows that. Anybody who doesn't needs to bow out of the conversation. And to those parents who think they're perfect? I wish them the best in life.

I'm a good mom. I'm with my children almost 24/7 and I love them with every ounce of my being. I expect good behavior in public, I set rules, and I teach them right from wrong. But I'm also a realist. I'm not perfect and neither are they. If the incident with Liam had ended differently, I guarantee I would be on the receiving end of the same backlash that the mom of the toddler at the zoo is dealing with. My "supermom" status would be ripped away so suddenly and everyone would become an expert on the matter and call me a negligent mother who deserved to lose all of her children.

20 seconds. 20 seconds was all it took for Liam to slip away while I was tying a pair of shoes. It happened to the mom at the zoo. It happened to me. It could happen to ANY of you today!

None of us are exempt. None of us are perfect.  All we can do is learn from these incidents, be thankful that we are given a second chance and figure out what we can do better. 

139

Have you ever had to deal with a scary incident involving your child?


LET'S CONNECT!





32 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness that is so scary. Cam was never a runner, but Emmy is and this has actually already happened to me with her. We were outside blowing bubbles on Mother's Day. My BIL was chatting with me and I turned to look at him and within seconds she was gone. I was frantic. I sent Cam inside to get his daddy and poppa. I was yelling for her, etc. She was at near the top part of our driveway playing in the grass as happy as could be. I was shaking. The curiosity is something that I can't keep out of her and wouldn't, but goodness the lack of fear scares me. I'm so thankful everything worked out with Liam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's terrifying, isn't it?!? I know it's something that will improve with age, but every time I leave the house with him I'm on high alert!

      Delete
  2. Oh that is so scary! Things can happen in just seconds for sure. My heart was beating fast just reading this!

    Becky
    www.bybmgblog.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody thinks it will ever happen to them, but it can! This little dude is going to give me gray hair!

      Delete
  3. Trick or treating at the mall. Lily. You were there. Excruciatingly painful because it's so terrifying. Blech

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. It's up there as one of the scariest moments of my life! So terrifying because we were basically helpless!

      Delete
  4. Oh my goodness! That's really scary! We've had a few scary moments too that just shake us up, but you are right, all you can do is learn from them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to categorize them as learning experiences, but I still can't stop thinking about the what ifs!

      Delete
  5. Absolutely. Jim and I were just talking about this with friends a few nights ago- we lost Abigail once and she was SO small. Definitely not even 2 yet, maybe 18 months? She wandered away and neither of us noticed it. Honestly, I still can't even really think about it much because everything is fine and I would never be able to sleep again if I let myself think about all of the what if's.

    But yeah- you're definitely not alone in this happening. For sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so scary! I'm sure that moment really does stay with you forever! I always worry about Liam getting away because he can't answer questions yet.

      Delete
  6. So scary. Glad it turned out okay!!! I hear you re: the gorilla incident! Human life for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      I'm honestly shocked at the number of people who don't care about the child! Then again, nothing should surprise me anymore!

      Delete
  7. Julian and Isaiah were playing. Isaiah was 6 & Julian 2. Julian grabbed Isaiah and Isaiah lost his balance. He fell backwards on top of Julian. Julian fell unresponsive. Then blue. I called 911. Brian was going to begin CPR. I rocked my baby. Smacked his face. Cried and cried 'breathe baby...please breathe'. He came back to us. We still headed to ER to make sure he was ok. Isaiah had landed on him just the right spot and knocked the wind out of him. That whole incident was a sheer 2-3 minutes and felt like a lifetime. I still cry thinking about holding my lifeless toddler. All that happened while we were in our own living room. Together. Anything can happen, anywhere, any time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is absolutely terrifying, Amanda! I had NO idea!

      Delete
  8. Words just aren't enough to get the point across! Experience is the best teacher! Tho, experience is sometimes too late. When someone says "I learned from experience", they usually have a scary or sad story! You said it well, Stef! You gave me tears! You are a good mom, but even good moms aren't perfect...nobody is. Thank God for you and Lily...and for an empty road!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just thankful we found him right away. Time to fence in that yard completely!

      Delete
  9. As you know my middle son as autism and like liam it makes him unaware of the danger that others may see. He is a runner as well. I had to work a later shift one night and my parents were going to watch him so I could finish up and I was going to pick him up after a church function. He was about 3 at the time. I was early dropping him off so I told him to play downstairs in the basement which was set up for him while they finished working and I left quietly and went back to work. A few hours later I called them to make arrangements to pick him up. They said didn't you take him to work with you? My heart sank and I was just sick I said no I left him downstairs playing while you finished working ( I had told them I was there and dropping him off) I could hear them running and car doors shutting. Were on our way home now they yelled. I ran but I was at least 20-30 min away at best. I was just sick oh God I prayed please let him be ok. When they got home it was dark and he was no where to be found. They went downstairs and he wasn't there. Finally he was found behind a bush in the front yard hardly able to breathe paralyzed with fear it took me hours to get him out. He said I tried to go to the church I knew they would be there. I tries to take my jeep and go. Sure enough he had his power wheels jeep stuck in the door. Thank God again that he had not opened both doors because had he gotten it out he would have ridden it up a major highway in the dark and for sure that would have spelled tragedy for our family. I sat in the yard and cried and cried thinking how close I had come to loosing my baby. I cry now telling the story and he is now a healthy 12 year old. So yes in a blink of an eye through no ones fault tragedy can strike. Thank God for second chances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I truly can't even imagine. My thoughts would be all over the place. Thank God it turned out okay! XOXO

      Delete
  10. At a carnival years ago (we only had three kids at the time) our oldest, middle and my mom got off the ferris wheel and started walking towards me and the stroller. I watched them start towards me and turned back to the baby. When I turned around less than a minute later our oldest was gone. I looked around and didn't see her and frantically started screaming her name. A young worker radioed to shut down all the exits as I ran all over looking. Another mom walked over to me and the security officer with my daughter by the hand. Belle had gone to look at the big slide. She was right next to my mom one second and gone the next. The whole thing lasted less than 5 minutes but it was my worst nightmare. I totally understand. I hope to NEVER have that happen again because I truly thought my heart was going to burst. Worst feeling in the world. Thank god. God bless you, I understand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It truly happens so fast and we never expect it to happen with our kids!

      Delete
  11. Oh my goodness. How scary. Oh how quickly things can happen. We live on the lake and I feel like I tooooootally AM that helicopter mom. However, it is my worst fear that the kids will go to the lake...without me. It scares me. It's a love/hate relationship with the lake, because our front yard is close to the road and our backyard, while lovely, scares the crap out of me. The kids know, I hope, to never, EVER go to the lake without us. They are never EVER to go on the dock without us and they must ALWAYS have on their life jackets before going out to the boat - and while holding my hand or Daddy's hand. We have an alarm system in our house, as well. The kids know never to go outside without me, because it's too easy to lose sight of them with having several doors. If I tell Henry he can open a door, the alarm still makes a super loud beeping sound (even when the alarm is not set) on every door so I can always know when somebody is entering or leaving. Sure, does all of this give us some peace of mind? You betcha. Am I still terrified? Beyond belief. Kids are kids and we, as parents, do everything in our power to protect them, to keep them safe, to not fail them. I think we all struggle with "doing our best." We are doing our best. We are. You are. I agree with what you said, we need to be thankful for the second chance and attempt to do better. This really hit home with me as all I want in this world is for my kids to be safe, happy and healthy. All we can do is be thankful. Thankful for what we have now and thankful for that second chance. Hugs to you and Liam. Have a wonderful evening and know that you're an amazing Mama. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would be on edge, too! XOXO The kids keep asking for a pool, but I don't know if I want to deal with the constant worry. Thank you for your sweet comment!

      Delete
  12. I am so, so sorry that you had to go through that. I had a similar moment like that at the Splash Pad this week and it is so horrible. The thoughts that can appear in our mind in such a short moment is horrifying. These are the things that keep me awake at night. You ARE a supermom and every time I read your posts I am amazed at your strength and organization. Fences are stinking expensive! We had to get one last summer, but if it brings you peace of mind, it is money well spent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry you had to deal with something like that, too. We're definitely going to invest in a fence. I need to let him play outside safely!

      Delete
  13. Oh Stefanie, I can't imagine how awful that much have been. I often feel like a helicopter parent, but there's just so much they can get into that it often seems necessary. And even when I'm watching them so closely they still always manage to get into stuff. I'm glad everything ended well. Thinking of you guys. And yes, you are a fantastic mother!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I know helicopter parents get criticized, but in some cases the parent does need to hover.

      Delete
  14. I am so sorry this happened. I fear this so much and after reading all the commments, I see how common it is. Good thing Lily got to Liam and good thing he didn't get in the street. It happens though and know that you are an amazing mom. Your instincts kicked in and you both saved him. So thankful this was the end scenario. Thanks for the reminder too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. SO SCARY!! Marcus was not a runner, but I have a sneaky suspicion Julia will be. Just *today* at only, 10 months old, I caught her five steps up on our hardwood stairs, with nothing but a tiled floor to catch her should she fall. I left the living room to quickly fill up our dog's water bowl. I never imagined she'd even consider climbing our steps. When I came back into the living room my stomach jumped into my throat. She was just sitting there on the step, kind of wide-eyed, not really sure of her location. It took everything in my power to approach her slowly and not scare her causing a fall.
    So, lesson learned, and a baby gate was immediately put up after the incident this morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, that's so scary!
      Liam is the first runner out of all my kids. It definitely keeps me on my toes at all times!

      Delete
  16. Oh my goodness my heart was pounding for you just reading this. So, so scary but yes, we have all had something like this happen and it is terrifying. It amazes me at how quickly something like this can happen too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You never think it will happen to you/your kid, either! I'm just thankful we reached him in time. I try not to think about the alternative!

      Delete

Thank you for reading! XOXO