I've often thought about parenthood and wondered what kind of parents we'll be. I still wonder. I remember about a year ago I was in the mall - I think it was a Friday or Saturday night - and I could have sat there forever to people watch. What I noticed the most were all the kids. All kinds of kids. I asked my mom how she raised kids that were so, well, normal - for lack of a better word. Not passing judgement and who ever knows what normal means, but I think we turned out just fine. Our time growing up was, relatively speaking, pretty quiet. I never wanted to pierce my tongue. My mom and I had a close relationship. I never snuck out of the house. I never drank in high school (okay - so it was graduation week at the beach when I took my first drink......Zima, of all things, but I did have the key jollyrancher to put in it....) - I had a great group of friends and we stayed out of trouble. We were good kids. I wasn't even close to being perfect, but I did okay. How did my parents do that? Will I be able to do that? How will our girls turn out?
Then there's our actions when they're completely helpless and dependent upon us. You watch the news about parents who leave their kids in the car because they forget to drop them off at daycare or parents who lock their keys in the car with their kid on a hot summer day because they ran in to pay for gas. Is it really that easy? I don't think it's because those people are just plain bad parents. I blame things on pregnancy brain these days - who knows if it's actually a medical occurrence - but I'm amazed at the things I forget sometimes. Surely I won't forget the process of carrying 2 car seats to the car to remember that my kids are in the back seat.
I remember a particular trip home from Nashville. I was coming back to SC with Barley. I stopped at a rest area and a little girl came up to me to ask if she could borrow my cell phone. She was around 7 years old. My immediate reaction, right or wrong, was to look around to see if someone else was with her - maybe walking up behind me. We weren't alone at the rest area - people were everywhere - and it wasn't dark, but still. One never knows. She's explaining to me how her family had left her at the rest area and I'm trying to process how exactly that could happen and if I believe her. As a rule, I never let people I don't know use my cell phone but I told her I had a calling card and I would gladly dial the numbers so she could call her mom's cell phone. No one answers and she leaves a tearful message. They truly did leave her. The poor girl was terrified. I sat there with her for almost 2 hours. Her mom never answered the cell phone. I don't remember calling the police, but I'm fairly certain I did. I wasn't going to take her anywhere and we couldn't sit out there forever.....and besides - at that point it was still possible they had left her on purpose. I later found out she was asleep in the back of their van when they stopped. She woke up and got out for the bathroom and their paths didn't cross, they didn't check on her when they left and when she came out of the bathroom the van was gone. The police arrived at the rest area about 5 minutes before her mom did. I'm glad her mom wasn't far behind - I hated to leave her with yet another stranger but I still had about 4.5 hours left in my drive and it was almost dark. Her mom and her grandmother were both in tears and I'm sure they answered some questions with the police.
My point is these things happen. Surely not THAT often and surely not to us, right?!?!?! Sometimes it seems that we're about to head down a road of trial and error and I'm just hoping we get it right!!!!!