The day was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. A parking spot in the shade. We were meeting a friend and her children at the park for a special event. It was humid and hot and we wanted so bad to escape, but the kids were having so much fun. They hadn’t seen each other in at least a month. Holding hands, they chatted away as they headed towards the park. The babies were awake and demanding our attention. I started to prepare a bottle and the kids went in two different directions. Henri wanted to go on the pirate ship. So I said okay and he was gone. Our eyes would dart all over the park trying to keep track of both of our kids. I prepared the bottle and eyed the bench I wanted to sit down on . My knee was killing me. It was throbbing.
My friend and I started chatting.
I replay it over and over in my head. How long was he gone? Why didn’t I check more often? Why wasn’t I paying more attention?
All of a sudden my friend pointed to my son and said, “Henri’s crying!”
I got up and ran towards him and saw tears streaming down his face. Three women surrounded my son, none of which I knew. One was looking around. I hobbled towards my son and said, “what happened? Are you okay?”
The three woman started in at me.
“He was screaming!” said one.
“He hurt his foot! He can’t walk!” said another.
“Are you his mother?” said another with A TONE.
I glared at them. I took a deep breath and said, “okay.”
I carried my baby back to the bench and two of the women came to the bench to talk to another woman whose child was crying. They were all discussing what happened.
“They must of ran into each other while they were running,” the mother said.
The two women looked my way and I gave them stink eye. And not just any stink eye. I gave them the “who do you think your looking at? I hate you and will imprint your nasty faces in my brain,” stink eye.
I told my friend and she shrugged it off. But I couldn’t let it go. This had just ruined my day. How dare they insinuate that I’m a bad mother? Who do they think they are?
I made a mental note of the mommy group they were with so that I could find them on the Facebook page and insult them. Then of course I would block them. Then I realized that my profile might end up on Mamarama and I wouldn’t be able to show my face at another park in Boca Raton ever again. Scratch that!
So I sat there and beat my self up. How could I have let that happen? I’m such a bad mother! He could have been kidnapped! I kept playing the tape over and over in my head. The tears. That sad face. Oh my God! I abandoned my son at the park!
And then I realized. There I was taking two children to a park at the hottest time of the day. My son squealed with delight as he ran barefoot through the water park. I had snacks. Not the ones he wanted but I had snacks. I had water. I had a change of clothes for him and a towel. He had sunblock on. He was one happy child. I don’t know what happened but I do know that he got up off that bench within 5 minutes after the incident and walked back to the water park. The only thing I was guilty of is limping a little extra as I ran towards him. After all, how could I get there faster with a knee injury? The mothers would understand of course. NOT.
He had forgotten everything. And mommy was there to wipe his tears. Mommy will always be there to wipe his tears.
I AM a good mother. I DON’T have eyes at the back of my head. I AM human.