As temperatures continue to rise, we’re hearing more and more reminders, warnings and PSAs about the dangers of leaving kids or pets in unattended vehicles. We’ve all gotten into a hot car once or twice and felt our breath catch with the heat – and I’m willing to bet that most of us would never intentionally leave our loved one (child or pet) in the car alone on a hot day. But it happens.
And when the news breaks, folks are quick to dig out their pitchforks and launch themselves onto their soapboxes to preach and condemn and “I’d never do that”. But you could.
I have a lot on my mind right now. We’re launching a product at work. I had a sponsored post to finalize before end of day Monday. I had a wee financial upset. I haven’t been sleeping. My baby brother’s gone to rehab. I have a knee injury that’s making me crazy. My personal life is shrinking. My to-do list is growing exponentially hour over hour and it’s starting to take a toll on my ability to keep my shit together.
I woke up this morning with day four, unwashed hair and said “eff that” and reached for a hair elastic. I threw on comfortable clothes, made a coffee and finished getting myself ready. I packed my gym bag, helped F get dressed and hurried him through the morning routine. I got a text as I was leaving the house that made my mind race.
I was annoyed that we were late and annoyed that I had forgotten to do something yesterday. Thinking of the workload ahead of me, I rushed F into the parking garage, we buckled up and pulled away. I sat at the light waiting for my chance to turn, and then made my way up the street. Right indicator, right turn, left indicator, left turn. Oh, good – lots of parking left!
“Um, Mama? Aren’t you going to take me to preschool?”
I forgot my kid was in the car.
Just like I forgot to schedule communications yesterday, which were to be sent beginning at 12:05 am today.
And like how my towels have been in the dryer for four days because I forgot them every night all week.
I forgot. I forgot. I forgot.
Had F been a sleeping infant, I don’t want to think about what the outcome could have been. When he was small, as I heard more and more stories of children dying in hot cars, I started putting my purse next to his seat – to make sure I looked in the back before I got out of the car. Before I locked it. Before I walked away. But I’m not perfect.
As we pulled out of the parking lot to drive to the preschool, F giggled with delight over my (thankfully harmless) mistake.
You’re so silly, Mama! You were going to take ME to YOUR work.