How many times have you said "I will NEVER" only to eat your words later? Sooner or later we all eat our words over something. Over the years I have had some major retractions and have learned to not use that phrase. Examples of foot eating opportunities abound. "I will never get married before I am 30." Age 28 down the aisle. "I will never have children." Yep, three of the little rug rats. "I will never yell." Really?? I did say that one and the terrible twos/threes broke me quickly. "I will never be a stay-at-home mom." Eleven years and counting on that one. I will NEVER home school any of my children. Third year for the eldest. " I will never have another dog." The beast has been with us for about five years. See what I mean? Major statements and everyone of them proven wrong by my own choices. Now for the most part life has been richer and more joyful because my "I will never" became I will choose. But this past Sunday I ate my words yet again and this time it scared me to my core.
Every summer, particularly here in the south, there are cases of parents or other adults leaving small children in hot cars with tragic consequences. There are also the occasional stories of someone forgetting their child at a place of business, home or somewhere else. Even though life has handed me humility on a silver platter a multitude of times I still said "I could NEVER forget one of my children". "How do people do that?" Oh how the mighty have fallen!!
On Sunday mornings my eldest volunteers as an junior assistant for the four-year-old class. He rides with me and helps out while I teach my fifth graders and then we ride across the street and meet the rest of the family for Mass. The two prior Sundays the eldest missed class due to a campout with the Scouts and not getting ready in time for me to leave. So this past Sunday he was back in class and all was right with the world. I was filling in for another Lector (someone who reads from the scriptures) and was not prepared so I hurried across the street to get ready. I noticed a strange number had called on my phone but did not call back since I was headed into church. After finding my husband in the church and dropping off my purse with him, I signed in and started preparing for the scripture reading. Now I noticed that the Eldest was not with the rest of the family but automatically thought he was getting ready to be an alter server and thought nothing else about my missing child.
Then his teacher showed up with my first born. Suddenly the light bulb went off! I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly sick I felt at the thought that I had forgotten my child. Yes, it was just across the street. Yes, it was with caring adults who got him back to me safely. Yes, he is 13 and not a helpless infant. But oh my goodness, the what ifs that have been circling in my mind since that moment are keeping me up at night. This is the one thing that I really thought was not possible, forgetting a child. Now I know how parents do this and let me tell you it is scary just how easily it happened. The most frightening thing is how routine the day seemed and how long he was gone without my noticing that he was missing. He was calm, his teacher was calm, even my husband was calm. I am still not even close to calm. This child is with me all day, every day and I forgot him. How does this happen? Way. To. Easily. The Eldest was lucky. I am simply thankful and humbled at how fortunate we were Sunday.