The Unthinkable 

Do you see this little girl? Today I did the unthinkable and forgot about her in the car. Here’s how it happened: our family arrived at a friend’s house and in our excitement we all darted out, assuming that someone else had grabbed the youngest member of our clan.

But no one remembered her. And she sat for about twenty minutes crying alone before one of us got to her. 

Thank god we were parked in a safe place. Thank god it wasn’t hot outside. Thank god she wasn’t alone for long. Thank god she has already forgotten about it and forgiven us.

But it will be a long time before I forgive myself.

I usually think I’m a pretty good mom. But I made a huge mistake today and I feel terrible. There are no excuses for what I did. And part of me doesn’t want to share this. I don’t want the world to know how badly I’ve failed. But then I think that I have to share this. I have to own up to my mistakes. I have to tell the world how far I am from perfect. And how if I did this, anyone could do this. And that scares me but also makes me judge a little less and makes me pay attention a whole lot more.

Tonight I snuggled my baby girl to bed. I read her a story, turned out the light, and stayed beside her listening to her breath got deeper and slower as she fell asleep. And felt so incredibly lucky. We are always so much closer to the end than any of us realize.

Hug your babies tight and practice forgiveness. Forgive those that make mistakes, even if the person who you need to forgive is yourself.

8 thoughts on “The Unthinkable 

  1. My goodness. Thank goodness she’s okay. You’re not a bad mom, these things happen. Just squeeze her a little tighter for a few days and remind yourself that she’s okay and won’t remember. Do try not to beat yourself up over it.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. It really is an easy mistake to make. We have 4 kids and I’ve done the same thing before. Now I find myself constantly counting my kids even more than usual!

  3. You are very brave and very compassionate for sharing this story. I spent the better part of my career investigating cases where children were left unattended in cars, unfortunately with extremely tragic consequences. The parents in each of these cases were devastated, and it did not help that the media, juries, and the general public were quick to pile on, with everyone claiming they would never leave their child unattended. It’s very easy to blame parents when their inadvertent mistakes lead to tragedies, but the truth is everyone has had a “moment”. Whether it’s leaving a child in a car, forgetting to pick them up at daycare, what have you, mistakes happen. You were lucky that your mistake was discovered and did not lead to tragic consequences, and you could easily have swept it under the rug. I hope your choice to go public will give comfort to others who perhaps were not as lucky.

  4. Thank you for sharing. My husband and I were in a very similar situation. We were at my grandmothers reception after her funeral, and we each thought the other one had gotten our 2 year old beautiful daughter out of the car. After standing in line to get some food, I realized she wasn’t with us, and I hadn’t remembered seeing her. With pure panic, we took off running to find her, and there she was….still in the car….in August….in Texas, picking rose pedals off of a rose from the funeral. Thankfully, she was ok. So scary, and you think it would never happen to you, but like you said, a change in routine is all it takes. This can happen to ANYONE!! So glad your child was ok as well.

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