Yesterday’s “Oprah Winfrey Show” had a mother on who is responsible for the death of her two-year old daughter. She left her daughter in a hot car for 8 hours in the middle of summer. She’s not unlike you or me though.
She was an Assistant Principal of a school and was headed to the first day of school. Her husband usually took their two children to two different schools. She did the pick up. On this day, her husband had a morning dentist appointment and asked his wife to do the drop offs. She agreed. Headed to the home where her daughter stays during the day, she realized it was too early to drop her daughter off so she stopped to picked up donuts for the teachers at school. Then, as normal, headed to school.
She continued with her day, not realizing until 4:00 p.m. that she had left her precious little girl strapped in her car seat, locked in the hot car in August.
Every mother’s nightmare. The child died of heat stroke.
33 children died in cars from heat stroke this year.”
How many times you have you been so busy, thoughts racing through your head that you end up home and don’t know how it happened? You drive down a road, headed one way, ending up somewhere else because that’s where you typically go. We drive around like zombies sometimes. Autopilot directs us, instead of active thoughts.
The message that Oprah shared is to “slow down. You are doing too much.”
When you think of the mother from this story, Brenda is her name, think:
- Stop rushing.
- Slow down.
Personally, this issue has always bothered me. It’s so hard to hear. I wonder how on earth anyone can do this? How is it possible? But, then I realize how easy it is to happen. We are doing everything. When my son started going to daycare my husband and I agreed to a system, a layer of oversight of sorts, that makes me feel better about the drop off/pick up routines. Every day whoever drops our son off has to either call or text message the other saying that we actually did drop off our child at school. We usually share a tid-bit from the event in addition to the message. “Dropped boy off. Kids were lined up to go to the playground.” Or, “picked boy up. Had good day. Headed home.”
If I don’t get a message, (which happens to both of us) I call my husband and ask what’s up? This helps us live in the moment. It’s part of our routine to notify someone of what we did, and to check up on the other that it got done. I have a trigger every day that by a certain time I should have notification that my son was successfully dropped off and is safe.
Of course, this isn’t fool proof and the best measure is to slow down and live in the moment, not in the rush-rush lifestyle that so many of us are living today.