My husband and I had a face-draining, heart stopping, stomach churning moment with the kid recently. One that has imprinted a thought to the forefront of my mind. A thought that seems so obvious given that I am now a mother and together we are parents, but sometimes we forget this one thing, this one simple thing and that is, ‘responsibility‘. Our responsibility towards our child. This isn’t a dramatic story (I realise that I may have built it up slightly) but the situation was enough to make me stop and take stock, and sometimes as a parent a reminder is needed.
We were at a friends birthday party and I drew the long straw, thus was able to drink whilst my husband drove. We were at a lovely venue, our friends parents who live in the middle of nowhere with acres of land and a swimming pool. And of course, it being the UK it absolutely tipped it down for most of the day! I got stuck into the Pimms and between us we did the rounds, chatting to friends not seen for many months. Due to the weather we were confined inside but doors to the house were open as a BBQ was being attended too. The kid was busy running around, doing laps of the downstairs. After a while, I got up to go and refresh my drink and saw my husband but no kid. I had assumed he knew where she was, what with him taking on the ‘sensible role’ for the evening. In a heart-stopping moment we both realised neither knew where she was, and we were right by the front door was open which lead straight to the pool. A friend described afterwards that all the colour drained from our faces as I said to my husband, ‘the swimming pool’. The next few seconds suspended as he ran outside, but in those moments I heard her little voice come from upstairs. She was upstairs.
I can’t quite describe the relief at hearing her voice. Everything was fine, everything was fine. We carried on with the party like nothing had happened. It wasn’t worth fretting about as she was okay. However that night and in the days that followed I had the most awful nightmares. Nightmares about what ‘could’ have been, what might have happened, I dare not speak the words. I fully acknowledged that any accidents would have been our own fault. Being a parent means full responsibility, as much as we might find that hard to accept or as much as we might forget this at times. We look after these little people. They are in our care until such a time that they are released into the world. It’s a bit like in a wedding where the dad has to step up and say I do, you’re taking responsibility for that person. Mine and my husbands error was not specifying who was in charge that day. We learnt that we must always, always ensure we know which one has eyes on her. We knew this, we’ve always known this but sometimes it takes a horrid shock to scare you back to that responsibility. We have learnt our lesson.