Friday, April 16, 2010

A Lesson to Learn...From Our Mistake

Yesterday, Sarah over at Clover Lane, posted about a close call she had with her son.  Good parents make mistakes.  Mistakes that can endanger their kids' lives.  I think we need to share with each other our close calls.  Not so others can point fingers and show us where we went wrong.  We KNOW where we went wrong and it makes us shudder and loathe (hopefully only temporarily) ourselves because of it.  Sarah was brave enough to share her story, so I will share mine.

It was a cool day last summer.  Miriam was a newborn.  Jamey had the summer off from school and decided to stay home with us instead of taking a job.  Sam (6 1/2) and Sadie (3 1/2) were outside playing.  I was keeping watch from the kitchen and laundry windows as I started some wash and did some dishes.  The play set is just out of sight from these windows, but is fenced-in from behind.  The kids had been playing there.  I had seen them.  I knew that for them to leave this area, they would have to walk across the yard into my direct view from the windows where I was keeping watch.

I decided to get a visual on the kids, but there was no doubt in my mind that they were both under the playset in the sandbox where I saw them last.  I walked outside and only saw Sam in the sand box.  I asked him where Sadie was and he didn't know.  I started calling for her and there was no answer.  I sent Sam to check their fort and as he sauntered in it's direction, I yelled at him to run.  I checked in Jamey's shop, in the chicken house and kept calling.  No Sadie.  I ran inside and yelled upstairs to Jamey (who was laying Miriam down for a nap) that I couldn't find Sadie.  He came outside and ran through the barns and around the perimeter of our 1.5 acres.  No Sadie.

I ran over to our closet neighbors.  I banged on their back door only to startle our sweet neighbor lady who was sitting close by.  I asked if she had seen Sadie.  She had not.  Her husband came into the room and I could hear him asking what was going on as I turned and left to go to the next neighbor's house.  After I left, those neighbors came out and started looking, the husband, going down to the road, walking along it, looking.  No Sadie.

The next neighbor was home as well and I asked her if she had seen Sadie.  She hadn't and as I turned back to my house, she checked her pool which I could not do.  No Sadie.

Our kids do not run off.  Never before had Sadie gone where she shouldn't have been.  I could not imagine her walking off our property and just wandering somewhere.  This left only one possibility in my mind.

Someone had walked onto our property and taken her.

This made me sick.  I kept thinking about how everyone thinks these things won't happen to them, but of course they can.  I thought it was happening to us.  I wondered where my Sadie girl was, if she was really with someone else just then- a stranger....

At this point I was headed back over to our house.  I saw Jamey emerge from the barns where he had been re-checking.  His arms were up in the air to show he didn't find her.  Then I saw our van sitting in the driveway.  Sam was near it as I was still coming from the neighbor's yard.  I yelled at him to check the van.  He tried to open a door, but it was locked.  It was locked.  This meant she was in the van.

Jamey ran in and got the keys, unlocked the van and opened the side door.  It was hot in the van even though it was a cooler than normal day.  Sadie had gotten into the unlocked van, crawled into her seat, and buckled herself in (which she had just recently learned how to do).  She didn't learn how to un-buckle herself, though.  If she had wanted to get out of her seat, she wouldn't have been able to.  The windows were closed, so we may not have heard her.

She was sitting there, looking at a book.  She was sweaty and sleepy.  The heat had already started to take it's toll on her in the matter of minutes that she was in there.  Jamey got the sluggish Sadie out of the van and took her inside for a drink.  I collapsed into the arms of my neighbor ladies, finally allowing the tears to come.

I had heard of stories about parents who left their kids and babies in their car while they ran into the store, causing their child to die from heat exhaustion.  I would NEVER do that.  But, what did I do?  I left the van doors unlocked on a summer day and allowed my child to climb in causing her to show the early signs of heat exhaustion.  I know what we did wasn't intentional, but we often give our children consequences for hurting someone because they weren't being careful enough (even if it wasn't intentional).  We have to be careful for the sake of each other.

Once we were all inside, we told Sadie that we weren't angry with her, but that she may not play in the van because it can make her very hot and very sick.  She sensed our emotion and was comforting us, giving us hugs and kisses as we sat on the bench in the kitchen, Jamey and I trying to collect ourselves with her between us.

For the rest of the summer, the van was kept locked.  If you don't keep your outside vehicles locked, please do.

I believe Sadie is old enough to know better this summer, but that won't stop us from keeping things locked up.  It's a small inconvenience compared to what could happen.  And we all need to be reminded that even us, even good, involved and alert parents can make mistakes.  Scary mistakes.  The kind that make you run through all the "what ifs" in your mind.  I let myself go there last summer, but I can't today.

I can't imagine this past year without Sadie.

Lesson learned.  Please learn it from me instead of on your own and spread the word.  Thank God for close calls- they are so much better than tragedies. Pin It


  1. Oh, yes, I can SO relate. I once had a 4 year old crawl into the back of my trunk and CLOSE the trunk on himself? Why? I'll never know. I couldn't find him anywhere for a few moments and then heard a teeny tiny little voice I could have easily missed coming from the trunk. Thank God. He had scared himself enough, and I had freaked out enough, that we both learned a lesson. I truly do hate moments like these...and maybe I don't even know they have been a gift to prevent something worse.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh my! That must have been so scary!! I let our daughter, who's four, play outside by the swingset and occasionally I can't see her, because she's hidden, and just for those few heartbeats where I'm running out there to find her I get scared. I cannot imagine losing her for that long. Oh, and lesson noted, I will be locking up my car now! Becca is old enough to "know better" also, but you never know....

  3. Oh my must have been so terrified! That is very scary...and it all can happen in an instant! One minute there they are...the next they're missing. I'm so glad that you thought to look in the van...God was watching.

    I want to remind people to keep their toilet lids closed. We have an acquaintance that lost their 8 month old baby from drowning in the toilet. He reached in to play in the water...fell in head first...and with his arms lodged at the shoulder was unable to squirm his way out. So keep toilet lids down...or better yet, like I did, the bathroom doors shut.


  4. Oh my, I can relate as well! When Ben was about 3, we lost him at the beach!! It took us several minutes to finally locate him, but he had wandered nearly 150 yards away from us into a more crowded area. Thankfully, a kind person found him and detained him until we were reunited. Talk about feeling like bad parents!

  5. Oh, how your heart must have almost burst with worry! Seriously, that is so freaky how close it could have been to disaster, hu? I'm sorry. A few years ago my brothers best friend had his little 2 year old boy drown in a neighbors pool in February. They were moving and staying with his parents who lived next to an old couple that had a crappy, floating 'cover' over their pool. Their little boy, Kendrick, toddled over there and fell in. It was an unbelievable tragedy that struck me to the the core. Incidences like that make me hold my kids a lot tighter. ALso, you will appreciate this family:

    They live in my brother in law's neighborhood and are an incredible family. You'll have to go back a bit in the blog history, but it's worth it.
    I've come to the conclusion that even when we are trying to 'slow down' we STILL are the mommy. We are ALWAYS going to be the mommy. Being the Mommy means that we have like 10,000,000 things to do at the same time that 10,000,000 things are running through our heads. It's certainly no excuse for negligence, but it is ok that we are human. Not SUPERMOMMY'S, just humans that can only do so much with what we have. I pray every day (really I do) that my babies will be safe and sound. All I can do is have faith. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I'm so relieved to hear that this turned out okay - at first I thought was recent! Near tears here!!! I have had a fear of this kind of thing and we've kept the doors locked on our vehicles for years. Once I left my oldest in her car seat WITH the car running while I stepped out to drop a video in the slot at the video store - couldn't have been more than a few feet. But the wind blew the door shut and it somehow locked. She was old enough that she couldn't unbuckle her car seat either to open the door. The fire dept. had to come and open it. I was thankful that the a/c was running to keep her cool until they arrived!

  7. Thanks for sharing this story. It's always good to have a reminder about safety. I'm so glad this story had a happy ending.

  8. Oh I'm so glad your story had a good ending! So many things going on in life...thanks for reminding me to just slow down!!! Your little Sadie is just precious! Thanks for sharing your story :) I just love your blog!

  9. Even though I've heard that story before, it still brings tears to my eyes...and down my cheeks, on to my chin, and leaving little tear-spots on my shirt. I can't imagine this past year without Sadie either. You are fantastic parents! Thanks for sharing, and reminding us, of your lesson learned! xoxo

  10. What a frightening experience! What a blessing that you were alerted to the situation in time...I don't believe in "chance"...God orchestrates everything! How many times have we arrived on the scene "just in time"...what a merciful and loving God we serve! How precious your story is and how powerful too! May it be used to save even one little child this summer!


  11. THank you for you sharing. . .how hard to remember, but so necessary, too - a good reminder to me.
    Soooo glad your little sweet girl is safe.

  12. lucky story...& the reminder that we aren't all so "lucky"--& that God's plan for each of our families is different is hard to swallow sometimes. have you heard of sheye rosenmeyer? she lives in australia, takes wonderful pictures (type her name into google & you'll find her blog), & lost her then-3-year-old daughter in the EXACT way that your little sadie was found. except they found their daughter too late.

    our God's plan is not understandable all the time...but his faithfulness certainly is. thank goodness for that...

  13. Just today I was changing my 7.5month old son on a patio table into his swim pants. Although he can roll he usually stays pretty still and he was close enough to the center of the table that he couldn't get to the edge. I turned to the bag to my right for LITERALLY 2 seconds, sensed something, turned back in a flash and before I could realize what was happening, my hands were under him, stopping him from hitting the concrete below. I still don't know how he could have possibly gotten to the edge that quick but I especially know that it was not by my speed or power (or even conscious thought!) that my hands caught him. It should not have been physically possible for my hands to get where they did based on where his falling body lined up with the table and chair beside it. It was purely God protecting us. I am still, hours later, shakey at the thought of what happened or could have happened and praising my merciful Lord.
    Thanks for your openness about this!

  14. Touched by this post.
    Thank you more than words can express for sharing this...

  15. thank you for sharing-my middle name is
    and i get awfully fretful about my 2 year-old grand daughter

  16. Every parent makes mistakes but it is best now a days never to leave young children out of site. I know what the rational was. "In order to leave the yard the child must cross in front of the window." Years ago I would have been ok with my 6 year old keeping an eye on a younger sibling in the yard while I was just a few feet away in the house. Now, I would not. The reason is that if a predator wants a certain child they will stalk and be patient, waiting for that little 30 second gap (even less) when they could pounce. A stranger could hop the fence, toss the little one over and hop back before the child knew what was happening. The older sibling is still a young child and quite easily distracted. I know the chance of someone stalking your very own child is quite rare but some where at this very moment a predator IS stalking a child.

    I am glad this story was shared. You are right, sharing stories of our mistakes can help save the life of a child or animal. I usually lock the car door but not often during the day. I no longer have small children but I will be sure to lock the doors even in the day as a child could easily climb in.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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