Emily Forgotten – Time to slow down
This is a true story, written by one of the Brisbane Kids writers and a Brisbane Mum. This story has not been altered in anyway. Today was embarrassing. I had a moment where time stopped. I felt sick. I became flushed and my heart raced. Where was my child. In the haste of rushing my older two into their classes, I turned to find my beautiful bouncing 3 year old with her deep blue eyes and her springy bob missing. Not at my side and no where in sight. What had I done!?
In my panic I ran straight to our school office. Passing concerned parents along the way. Rushing my Kindy boy, on his sluggish feet. I burst into the office. “I’ve lost my daughter. She’s blonde. Wearing a rainbow dress (I stayed up late sewing new lining in it last night I thought), and she’s gone!!” I wailed. The office lady wrote my details and my description down and then phoned security. Five more parents joined in the search of our school. 2500 pupils strong and spread over what seemed like an eternity of classrooms and play areas.
Another mother took my Kindy boy to his class and settled him in then continued on her search. All the time I panicked. “What if I never see her again? There’s cameras. They will have it on tape. Someone will see. But where would she go? Will she hide? Will she run? Oh there is a big 4 lane street at the front of the school!” And so I ran blindly and crazily. My calls started to feel more like screams. What had I done?!
And then my cell phone beeped. Everyone looking had my number. Thank god someone had found her I thought. But no it was my mother in law. “What time does swimming carnival start today?” And then it hit me. How stupid. Oh my god how embarrassing. How could I forget where my child, my precious beautiful baby girl was?! She was at Grandmas. I had dropped her before school. Something I never ever do. I never have “time”. But this morning I had 10mins and dropped her in a wild race to school and swimming carnival. I dropped and left and forgot!
So there was the embarrassing explanation. The giggles of relief. The laughs at how silly the situation and idea that one could simply forget their movements. Forget where their child is.
“Don’t worry, we all do these crazy things.” One mum cooed to me. The Security Guard smiled “The main thing is she is safe. Go have a cold drink.”
And so I laughed off my mistake. My crazy wild frantic search. I phoned my sister and told her I had just done the most embarrassing thing in my entire life. And we laughed. “It’s in the genes you know, we are all dippy!” And there that matter sat.
Until now. 4 hours later. And now I feel sick. Because my daughter is safe. She is still with her Grandma having a treat at the shopping mall, oblivious to the fact that I simply – forgot! And it’s not so much that I made this mistake. It’s that recently a parent thought they had dropped their child to daycare. Only they didn’t. They too forgot. But instead of an embarrassing event that may just follow me through my children’s school years, as the day I forgot my movements, no this poor family lost their child. In the safety of their own car. The child died because they forgot.
It is heart breaking to realise this. Some poor Mother or Father out there has to live with this for the rest of their lives. Not as embarrassment but as a daily torture.
I know why I did it. I can’t speak for family’s who have made the same mistake with tragic outcomes. I did it because I’m too busy. I run late. I have poor time management skills. I do things that really don’t need to be done. I stay up late making Christmas presents, lining my daughters favourite dress, booking holidays, catching up on work assignments I didn’t complete in my day. I rush our mornings because I’m not as organised as I could be. I drive to school thinking about the million and one jobs I would like to have done before the end of the day. And a million distractions fill my mind. And I forget.
So I’m sitting here taking some stock and trying to make sure I learn this precious lesson. Slow down a bit. Let go of some of the things you think are important, when really they simply are not. Walk slower to class, hold their hands and don’t stress if you have to get a late slip. Leave the dishes. Leave the worry for another day. Because the outcome could be much worse, than a simply embarrassing event.