See this little boy??
This is my Master J.
He melts my heart every day when he sneaks into my bed for early morning cuddles or lets me into his bed for snuggles. He says “I wuff you Mummy”!!! with complete abandon and his little arms around my neck are more precious than the most expensive jewels. He has the cheekiest grin and is one of the happiest little boys you could ever meet, followed very closely by his big brother.
I have tears in my eyes writing this as last Saturday I lost this little boy.
I turned my eyes away for just a minute and he was gone.
I have never been so scared as a Mother.
I hated myself.
I still hate myself.
I failed.
How could I have done this???
I was up at Kings Park catching up with some girlfriends and their kids. I am kicking myself for choosing this particular Park – it was a water park with a big (unfenced) man made lake with a playground on an island in the centre. There were other play things too, dinosaurs and climbing frames, slides and bridges and my boys were happy on these, seemingly ignoring the water playground.
I was standing up and watching them both, chatting with my friends and having lunch. If I lost sight of one or the other I would excuse myself , wander across to the play area, make sure I had re-established eye contact and the go back to my friends. It was not very sociable of me but there was no way I was going to trust a rising three year old to remember where I was seated and if he fell down I wanted to see him.
After about an hour I started to relax a little, let my guard down, allowing perhaps two minutes between glances up from conversation. It was a stunning spring Saturday and there were literally THOUSANDS of kids and families around and there were kids as young as Master J running around as well, I’m guessing being watched by a mindful Mother or Father somewhere around. I rationalised that I was being as responsible as needed, just like everyone else.
Then I looked up – and could only see G Man, vibrant in his red Spiderman shirt; no sign of Master J at all. I wasn’t worried – he would not be far from his hero big brother I was certain. I went over to where I had seen him last, doing the Superman on the swings, hopeful for a push.
I clambered all through the play equipment…running from one to the next. My stomach was in my mouth. I was sweating and panicked. My girlfriends downed lunches and helped me look. One of my fiends hadn’t seen Master J that morning as she had arrived late so I told her, voice shaking, what he was wearing; a striped blue and white long sleeve top and denim shorts. My head was screaming NOOOOOO as I was telling her – this wasnt happening. My baby. I couldnt believe it. What had I DONE???
What the actual FUCK????
After I realised he wasn’t anywhere on the play equipment, my mind turned to the lake.
Time stopped.
All I could think of was that we would be on the news tonight. The headlines would be
“Toddler drowned in Kings Park Lake Tragedy”
(I am feeling sick as I type this)
I started running along the edge of the lake, looking down through the murky algae, searching for a hint of blue and white stripes under the water. It was surreal. Not my baby.
What had I done??
There was nothing.
I stood helplessly at the edge of the water and my soul was screaming. My heart was ripping. Had he drowned? Had he been taken? Did some mad person have him and would he be violated? My baby…… The thoughts were relentless.
The feeling was utter devastation, disbelief, horror and just……sick.
What would I tell my husband? How could I? What had I DONE??
I wanted to fall to the ground and just die.
Such hopelessness and guilt and sickness.
Then my girlfriend who had never met Master J was yelling at me from across an oval, in the opposite direction from where were were looking, waving her hands.
She was nowhere near water and my heart leapt with hope.
I ran over to her and she pointed at a little boy leaning and swinging on a chain for a path which wound through some bushland. He was about 500m away from where I had last seen him.
My Baby!
Holy CRAP!!!! That had to be the single worst 15 minutes of my life so far. So many emotions ripped through my heart and stomach.
I debated the entire 4 hour drive back home the next day about whether to tell Mr Point Five.
If he had done what I had, would I want to know? Would I forgive him? Could I ever trust him again with our babies??? I didn’t think so, so I decided not to tell him.
I had been home about an hour and I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t bear the burden of what I had done alone. He gave me a hug and I dissolved into tears on his shoulder. I ‘fessed up as to what had happened the day before.
I said I was sorry; so, so sorry. I sobbed I was sorry for letting the team down, sorry I had failed at being a Mother. I couldn’t say the word enough. I said I wished that he never had to go through what I had, and I begged him to forgive me. How could he though, when I couldn’t forgive myself? He looked so sad. Although he would never say so, I think he did blame me a little, think I failed a little, who wouldn’t??
But at the end of the day we have our angel still and I have learnt a fucking valuable lesson in parenthood.
My GOD! Have I learnt a lesson.
And aged about 10 years in the process.