For a while now, it’s been illegal where I live to use a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. We all know that distractions can very quickly make a good driver turn dangerous. Yesterday I realized how dangerous such a distraction can be even while just walking.
As the kids and I were leaving our church’s cafe, a mom talking on her cell phone stopped at the intersection 1/2 a block ahead of us with her daughter in a wagon. Her daughter looks to be about 2 or 3, but she has Down Syndrome so I don’t know if she’s small for her age maybe. The mom was waiting at the corner even though she had right of way; drivers of cars were trying to wave her to go ahead. While she was waiting, her daughter saw us and got out of the wagon. I guess she wanted to come see my babies. Her mom finally walked across the street, not noticing that her wagon was empty.
The little girl got 1/2 way to us and I was already going toward her, then she noticed that her Mommy was gone! And she started to go into traffic after her! I called for her to wait and got to her before she left the sidewalk, then hurried back down the block holding her hand (leaving my 3 kids alone on the sidewalk, Gabriel was on my back) yelling after her mom 1/2 way down the block before her mom finally turns around and yells “What?!”
Then she sees me holding her daughter’s hand, she does a double take looking in the wagon, then comes and gets her without a word to me. Little girl goes back in the wagon, Mom goes back on the cell phone before I’ve even got my stroller brakes unlocked.
Distraction..optional distractions that could have cost that girl her life if God hadn’t put the right people in the right place. If the car drivers had been impatient (it’s not uncommon for cars to not stop at the signs in that intersection, and cars were honking their horns, trying to get the Mom’s attention when she walked away without her girl) or if I had been walking in the other direction, away from the girl and not seeing her, things could have ended badly.
Distractions that caused a woman to not notice that her wagon had lost a 25-lbs load of cuteness.
It’s a reminder to myself, as well.
Only 2 days ago, Josiah almost strangled 6 feet away from me because I had stepped outside for a moment to see if the UPS truck stopping across the street was for me (my house number is even but we’re on the odd-numbered side of the road, so package delivery truck drivers tend to have a hard time finding our house.)
Last month I was visiting a friend at her church and the kids were playing outside. We thought Josiah was hiding in the slide, my husband went to check, and he was gone. We found him a few minutes later on the other side of the church, thank God.
I need to be careful of that I put kids before the distractions. It only takes a second.
In a second, a child can drown. In a second, a child can vanish. In a second, a child can be in front of moving cars. In a second, a child can get caught and strangle. I know I’m being repetitive but I think many of us tend to believe that it won’t happen to us. But it might.
We all have weaknesses in distractions in different areas. For some of us, it’s the phone. Or music. Or the computer. We need to look at ourselves and our habits and decide where to draw the line. If we can’t keep it in check, do we get rid of the distraction altogether? Who can hold us accountable?
I’m writing this not to try to put down the mother of that sweet child. I’m not trying to sound a hero. I’m simply trying to remind myself and hopefully others that we live in a time with more distractions than every before, and we need to be responsible about them.