i forgot my baby in the car.
it's true. i opened the door to the van, i unbuckled harper (2) and helped him climb down onto the sidewalk, while i got marlie (4) down and helped put her backpack on. when i looked over at harper, he was playing with the automatic locks on my door. he hadn't ever touched the buttons before, so i explained to him that it wasn't okay, because we could get locked out. (wouldn't that be just a nightmare.)
then i closed the door and walked them both into preschool to drop marlie off. (end scene. cut to parking lot, zoom in on silver van.)
little london claire is sitting quietly (like a lady) in her infant car seat. just 8 weeks old. i left her in the car. i know, i know... that is a common mistake for a scatter-brained, sleep-deprived, new-mother-of-four. but, that isn't even the worse part. the part that makes me a d.b.m. (or dead beat mom for those of you who aren't family members) is that i didn't realize that harper hadn't just pushed the locks, he also rolled down the passenger side window. so, london was not only alone and unattended, she was also cold and available for burglary. (fade out, return to scene of me dimly walking back to the van like an unaware simpleton.)
i slid the van door open and realized what i've done. my heart sank. now, since i just ran in and ran out, she was neither too cold, nor had she been burgled. but, it was still one of the worst parenting-lows in 6 years of motherhood.
i have had some pretty crazy low-points in 6 years. i once threw my daughter's breakfast out the window on the highway, because i felt obligated to follow through on (what should have been) an empty threat. i said "if you do that again i am throwing your waffle out the window." she did it again, and i frisbeed that waffle right into the median. low point.
even lower than that, was when we put our oldest daughter, annalee (now 6, but 3 at the time) on a sort of privilege lock-down because we believed she had repeatedly been picking at holes in her wall that had been patched and painted over, then lying about it... swearing it wasn't her. only recently (3 years too late) did we realize that when the walls or the floor in that room are pounded on, the dried spackle starts to crumble and work its way out on it's own... leaving, what appears to be a small, freshly picked-at hole in the wall. super-low.
when i got to the van and inspected for signs of frost-bite or attempted baby-napping, london opened her eyes and she smiled at me. so forgiving are our little ones. it blows my mind how often i can fail them, and how much they still love me. i hear people talk all the time about how god loves us like a parent loves a child, but lately i am feeling like maybe god loves us like a little child blindly, and unequivocally loves her mama.