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Potentially disastrous error

March 31, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
I had a heart-stoppingly horrifying moment as a mom yesterday. I was unloading some junk out of the back of my car, and Emma was running around the back yard. My head was in the hatch, rearranging more junk. About 30 seconds went by. My internal mommy alarm went off. (After the fact, I wondered, is every woman born with this alarm that is inoperative until having a baby?)

I whipped my head up and quickly scanned the yard. No Emma. I ran to the front of the car in case it was blocking my view. No Emma. I bolted around the side of the house. There she was, on the patio by the front sidewalk.

"Come back this way, Honey!" I called. She was squealing with delight and picking up pine cones off the patio. She was about 10 yards away from me and about 1 yard from the street -- and we have no fence. Inexplicably, I stayed put and called to her again. To my horror, instead of running to me, she turned her back and headed for the street.

I screamed: "Emma Skye!" and flew toward her. As she stooped to pick up a pine cone that was lying at the curb, I scooped her up.

My heart pounding, I scolded her for disobeying me and not coming when I called. I told her never, never run away when I call her.

"OK, Mommy. I won't," she said matter-of-factly. "Look at my pine cones!" She grinned and held them up.

I wanted to cry. Inwardly, I lambasted myself. Never, NEVER, take your eyes off Emma when she's playing in the yard!!! Never, ever assume she's going to come when you call her. She's 2!!! Stupid, stupid, stupid Betsy!!! And get a fence, for God's sake!

I just thank God there wasn't a pine cone in the middle of the street and that no cars were coming. The unthinkable could have happened in an instant.

Why can't there be an internal "stupid" switch that automatically turns OFF when you have a baby?


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