Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where is Your Mother?

I sat in my garage organizing some junk last weekend, when something unusual caught my eye. A little guy, maybe about 4 years old, with a big dog was walking on the other side of the street. Not having my glasses nearby, I couldn’t quite make out who the boy was.

What the heck are those parents thinking?

Letting a preschooler walk a huge German Sheppard alone?

And right in front of the Houdini pit bull’s house across the street.

They’d better catch up to the little guy!

How stupid and dangerous.

Then, my thoughts drifted back to my project.

About 5 to 10 minutes later I heard someone shouting from the end of the street. It was a teenaged girl, and she was chasing after the little boy who had passed me with the dog earlier.

She slowed at my driveway and asked if the boy was mine. I told her he wasn’t.

“Well, I found him around the corner sliding down a dirt hill. He doesn’t have anything but a shirt on,” she said breathlessly, “When I came near to him he started running.”

We both looked down the street and the kid was now running full speed in the middle of the road.

Immediately, I started racing after him.

I was running quickly, but the little guy was outpacing me. He was approaching a very dangerous intersection in the road and I my adrenaline surged.

Kicking off my slip-ons, my body went into a full sprint. Only with this full out run was I able to catch up to the boy.

I grabbed his shoulder, and he stopped, turning his face to me.

Oh my gosh, he was just a toddler! (Yes, I should wear my glasses more often!)

Immediately, I lifted him to my hip and turned toward home. The teenager was heading my way, as well as my next-door neighbor. We were all stunned by the situation and began looking around for the adult responsible for him.

When I got to my house, I dialed 911. It had been at least 10-15 minutes since I had noticed the boy walk by with the dog.

Some mother must be frantic looking for her baby!

“What’s your name?” I asked the little guy.

He just jabbered. He did not even talk yet.

I gave the 911 operator a full description of him and then stood in my drive waiting for someone to run by, or drive by, looking for him. I comforted the boy and my little girl brought him a stuffed animal to hold.

We stood out front and I waited…

And waited…

And waited…

It was now at least 25 minutes since the boy had come to my attention and no one was on our street looking for him.

My neighbor hopped in his car to go see if there was someone looking around for the baby on other streets.

After a few minutes, he found a family in their front yard and stopped. He asked if they were missing a kid. They were not.

Two little boys were nearby on their scooters and called out. “What does he look like? Maybe it’s our brother.”

They followed my neighbor around the corner to my house.

“Yep, that’s my baby brother,” the boy, who looked around 8, said.

He reached out to take the boy…

“I need you to go get your mother, “ I said

The boy headed down the street and went into a house nearby that was recently rented out.

He came back a few minutes later…without his mother.

“Go get you mother.” I said nicely, but firmly.

He left again and returned a few minutes later…without his mom.

Then, I saw the disheveled woman walking casually towards my house.

“Oh, thank you.” She said, sounding groggy, as she took the toddler into her arms. Her apparent lack of maternal instinct struck me.

It had been 35-40 minutes and she had not noticed her child missing.

I know that these things rarely happen, a toddler escaping, but I would expect a more rapid response and a pretty freaked out parent when they realized what was going on!

The police car arrived about 10 minutes later and took a report.

I found out later that another neighbor had found the boy out alone, half a block from his home, days before.

It’s been hard letting this go. I have seen neglected and abused children in the hospital, but of course it never gets any easier to see.

It is unthinkable to me, that children, so precious and vulnerable, are not protected by their caregivers.

It is a harsh reality of this world and it hit close to home last weekend.

(The picture at the top is not of the little boy in my neighborhood)

I’m joining Rachel and Mr. Daddy today for their True Story Tuesday. There are so many interesting stories shared on their blog. Head over and take a look.


Foursons said...

This absolutely breaks my heart. Is child protective services looking into the situation? I hate for that woman's children to be taken away, but my goodness they need to be safe and sound!

wife.mom.nurse said...

The proper authorities were notified.

I agree...I just want the children to ultimately be safe and sound.

-stephanie- said...

How sad. Thank God you were there to help out.

studentrntiffany said...

That is very sad, and a very common occurence near me. The parents leave the children in the care of other small children and when bad things happen they seem unphasied or just plain pissed that someone was watching their children.

What a great neighbor you were for taking such good care of him while he was in your charge. I hope things pan out well for him.

Helene said...

Wow...just wow. It stuns me that in this day and age someone would let their toddler wander freely around a neighborhood like that!

I hope the authorities look into this situation and take care of it!

Tiffany said...

That is horrible. Thank you for being loving. It makes you wonder how many people saw him wondering around before you. Babies should not have to live like that.

Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

What if someone un-honest found him????? He could be on the news. This type of thing really saddens me but honestly, it makes me more upset than anything because I have SEVERAL friends who can not have children and deserve them and here this woman has at least 2 and has Zero idea of what they are doing..GRRRR you did the right thing!!! ;)And your word verification word is Liousema I'll tell you who is a Lousy Ma....

Linda said...

Just found your blog and I have enjoyed my visit.
I am a nurse too but I live in England.
How awful that this child was left to wander and thank the Lord you were there!!Dreadful neglect.

April said...

Your story stopped me dead in my tracks...that's a real heartbreaker, Julie! If I'd been his mother, I would have rushed over in tears and scooped him up in my arms, thanking God above that he was safe and sound. Just makes you wonder what his home life is like. So very sad.

Rebecca M. said...

Please follow up with the police about your neglect concerns AND that another neighbor found the boy days prior...

Do not let this go. Neglect is very dangerous.

I have a family member who suffers from mental illness. She had three lovely children and we all knew that she was not caring for them as she should. No beds, no food, etc. I hesitated to step in.

Well, while the two older ones were at school, the mom took a shower and did not secure the house. Her four year old left the house, fell into the pool and drowned. He died.

I know these things happen to the best of mothers. It's horrible. BUT if there are warning signs of neglect and you do not take any action, horrible things can happen to these little angels.

I'm dealing with a lot of guilt about not stepping in sooner to save my niece and nephews... yes, she is my sister.

My niece and nephew are with their father now - thankfully safe and thriving.

Do not let this go.

GunDiva said...

Poor kids. The worst part is that you know darn well those older kids got in trouble for: 1) waking up their mom and 2) letting their little brother wander away.

Poor kids.

He & Me + 3 said...

OH my gosh Julie. That is the craziest thing. our neighbors little boy used to escape out of the house diaperless and just stand in the middle of the street or walk away from the house. He is now in Kindergarten and is expected to be responsible for his 4 year old nephew. Crazy times. It is heart breaking. Half the time they can't find the boys and knock on our door asking if they are here.

Courtney said...

Oh boy, my heart is breaking :( I'm thankful you were there to help that poor little boy!

Mighty M said...

Makes me feel very sad. I am glad you were there to help him, but unfortunately you can't always be and I fear for the next time (or the next, or the next) that this happens. And sadly, it surely will. :(

Heart2Heart said...

Praising God that you were able to catch that little one before he reached the intersection. It saddens me that some parents have little or no regard for their children. Thank you for being the angel in this little one's life.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Just Breathe said...

That mother was very lucky this time. That is so sad. If she found her son dead in someones pool whose fault would it be. You know they would blame the people for not having a proper fence. I will pray that this little boy will continue to be protected by the grace of God.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Such a sad situation. Wow, we take so much for granted

mama's smitten said...

That is just terrible! Ugh....

~*Michelle*~ said...

how heartbreaking..... :(

praying for this little boy and his siblings.

Lori said...

So sad and unfortunately happens more often than we think.
You did the right thing. Hopefully this turns in to a wake-up call for the parent and the child will be better taken care of.

deyoder said...

Wow. And don't you know the heart of God breaks so much more than ours. I so appreciate your compassion! And am so glad to have found you...another firefighter's wife!

sanjeet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hotflash said...

Julie, I am so glad you were there and you got involved. That is absolutely heartbreaking. Poor little boy and his sibling(s). It is so frustrating that parents can be that irresponsible and often there are very few consequences for putting their children at risk. My prayers go out to those children.

Melissa said...

You sure no how to tug at the heartstrings...have I told you before you are an amazing story teller? God has placed that child near you fora reason :)

Beth E. said...

So sad...breaks my heart! I'm grateful for you, my friend. You most likely saved that little boy's life.

I hope the police followed up their report with a call to child protective services.

God bless those children, and God help their mother!

AtYourCervix said...

Very sad.

However, let me play devil's advocate for a moment.

Perhaps she is a single mother, working night shift to make ends meet. She needs to sleep during the day, right? So, since she cannot afford day care for both nights that she works, plus the hours during the day that she needs to sleep, she has her older boys keep an eye on the youngest one.