Thursday, 3 December 2009

and then it happened... was a split second and he was gone, straight across the road and into the path of a car. Instinctively I screamed, "STOP", the kind of scream I made when giving birth to him, almost animal like and primeval, and flew after him. The man in the car had seen him and was doing a safe speed to stop in time, he made it to the other side, so did I, grabbing him and not letting go. I was shaking and trying to control the tears as the shock set in. Trying to pull myself together in front of my elder son and his friend, trying to hide the shame I felt as a parent who hadn't been able to control her child as the eyes of other parents turned towards me and the drama as it unfolded.

I shook for hours after and have drunk many cups of tea, sweetened with heaped spoons of sugar. I always make them stop at the road, I always ask them to hold my hand, we always 'stop, look and listen'. What made him dart across the road? I gave him a stern telling off, whilst both of our eyes streamed with tears. Does he realise what he did, how can I be sure he won't do it again?

I can't get out of my head the picture of him running across the road and the awareness of an approaching car. I know when I calm down, I will be thankful to the safe driving of the man, whom I can't even recall and I will be thankful that today could of ended very differently.

I wasn't going to share this as I know people will judge and think me a bad parent, but it has taught me two things, 1. you can never really be in full control of your child, it was very out of character and happened in a split second and 2. speed limits around schools, houses, playgrounds should be dropped, it really does make a difference! I can truly say I have never been so frightened in my life before.


  1. oh love, what an awful awful moment.
    so pleased he is ok.

    driving a prius i am hyper-aware of how quiet it is, especially when driving on the battery power. around streets i am paranoid about kids and people running out.

    (if you see me, i'm in the blue car with the impatient idiots that want to drive right at the limit just behind me)

  2. Never ever judge you. Never. I know how they are at that age, you just never know. Not for 100% sure.

    I can only begin to imagine how it felt. My heart stopped just reading this. Thank everything good there is that he's okay.

    Extra big hugs all round I reckon.

  3. oh my god emma,
    how awful those moments must have been.

    huge hugs,
    and thank the heavens he is ok.

  4. not one ounce of judgement. never be scared of that. we all of us have watched things unfold and thank goodness you got to be teary and scolding. i fret about this almost full time. but we have to let go, too. it's really hard.
    best wishes.

  5. Bad parent? Not at all. Heart-stopping moment.

  6. Not a bad parent, just a parent like the rest of us doing their best. They do run sometimes, my small non swimmimng son once ran and jumped into the deep end of a pool. Totally terrifying.
    Try not to think of the 'what ifs'.
    So glad he is ok.

  7. Not a bad parent, just a human being trying her best, like the rest of us. Sharing along the way makes it all a little more 'normal' and when one of my small folk next does something heart stopping (as they surely will) I will feel a little less rubbish because I know it happens to everyone at some point. So, thank you - go grab a big mug of hot chocolate, and the brandy!

  8. praise be for careful drivers and fabulous Mamas who care and love and share
    children certainly keep us on our toes and it's a good thing
    we all learn from it
    it doesn't get any less as they grow older cos you never stop being a parent
    don't be too hard on yourself
    we're all in it together x

  9. I had something similar happen the other day - it is truly awful.. Hope you're feeling a bit better now. Oh, and I really think that no matter how much we look out for them, we can never be there every second of the day. That's not being a bad parent, that's life. And that's not trying to argue my way out of facing a harsh truth either..

  10. So scary! Something similar happened a couple weeks ago to my--we were walking down our road and stopped to look at the beaver pond and one of my 4-year-olds ran across to the point to the beaver dam on the other happened so suddenly and without warning. Happily the (giant truck) that was coming down the road was going slowly and stopped well in time (often cars go VERY fast on our road)...the driver rolled down her window and said, "I have kids too; I know what it's like." I don't think anyone will judge you--kids are unpredictable and impulsive. Hope you've recovered by now!

  11. Not a bad parent in the least and no-one (certainly not those with children old enough to move) would judge in the least - there by the grace of god and all that. So glad it ended with nothing more than a nasty shock - it's just awful when something like that happens. Two stories to try to make you feel better: when I was a bit older even than your son I did just the same thing - my Mum is and was hyper cautious, careful and always checking, but had let go of me for one second, I saw our neighbour and darted across the road, right in front of a car. Luckily, again, no more damage than a nasty shock for all concerned, but if it could happen to my Mum it could happen to anyone. No 2: when my son was about 3 he was running in and out of the kitchen while i cooked tea. He tripped fell and split his head open on the corner of the fireplace - needing A&E and the full works. Once I'd stopped the worst of the bleeding and before we got to A&E I fainted with the shock and had the shakes going over and over it in my mind for days. We can't wrap them in cotton wool and everyone has heartstopping moments, especially it seems, mums of boys, perhaps we should just take the reminders to remember how very precious they are and how lucky we are to have them. x

  12. Clearly it has happened to many of us... We do not judge as we would also be judging ourselves. The yucky feeling will pass with time...

    Mom of 2 boys that don't always look both ways.

  13. No judgement, I can still remember being a kids and doing things without thinking. I hope your heart has recovered from the shock. K xx

  14. I've never commented on your blog, even though I read it often, but I feel I have to say you are not a bad parent and as a mum of a 4 year old girl I can only imagine how awful that must have been for you and your son. I'm very glad he is safe and know you will hold him extra tight from now on, which is exactly what I'll do with my daughter

  15. You must never think you are a bad parent,you are a natural parent. I hope you are feeling a bit less shaky now.
    Take care Sophie xxx

  16. Have popped back after a while not visiting - how awful for you, I recognise your shock and feelings, thank goodness your little one is OK. My two are a little older but I still get tremors of panic if they're not where they're supposed to be or if they come near danger I haven't managed to anticipate. Sweet tea is definitely one way to calm the strangled nerves and good for you for sharing. I'd be amazed if any parent hadn't had a similar experience.

  17. Oh Emma - you are a wonderful mother - the fact that this affected you so much shows it. My own heart stopped for a moment just reading the first few sentences. LOVE to you - big love!

  18. no judgement here either. i could have written your post almost word for word, the shaking, the guilt. my son did exactly that friday afternoon and i responded in pretty much the same way. Go easy on yourself x

  19. Thank you all for your kind comments and wise words. Am feeling much better now and can only hope that he understood enough not to do it again! It has also reminded me the power of blogging and sharing worries, to know that you are out there, either going through the same or just understanding, means a lot, emma x

  20. Please be gentle with yourself.These things can happen so quickly, and not just to children (I was recently struck by a car, though thankfully,I was not seriously injured). I'm ever so glad to hear your little one is ok.

  21. I had the same thing happen when my son was 4. It was terrifying and left me shaking in a way I'd never experienced. I don't know if it was the right thing but on our way home we saw a dead deer in the road. We walked over and talked about how the deer had run out and the driver hadn't seen it and it died. Some might think this harsh but it was
    one of those real life experiences and I seized it and spoke honestly with him about it. Explaining that drivers don't always see us. We have to be sure we are safe. When we got home my son stood looking outside for a long time and was very quiet. That was about a year ago. Jule (also a Waldorf mom)


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