This morning Stinx and I went to do some errands. We stopped at Superstore to pick up a few things, dropped by Value Village to check out the maternity clothes (the selection was terrible today!), then stopped in at Motherhood Maternity. Stinx was really into shopping today. Every time we left a store he'd say, "Another store!!". It was weird. He normally can't stand shopping and I don't blame him.
Anyway, on to the point.
After our shopping adventure we were driving down a busy street in our neighborhood and I saw a little toddler wandering down the sidewalk by himself. I pulled over right away and got out of the car. Sure enough, no one was around, and he was stepping out into the busy street. I ran over and grabbed his hand and got him back on the sidewalk. He looked about 18 months. I tried asking him where his mom was but it was obvious he wasn't a talker. I decided to just call 911 right away instead of wasting time trying to figure out where he lived. The operator sent a unit right away and asked me to stay on the line until they arrived. I ended up having to get Stinx out of the car so the two boys played on some one's yard while we waited. After 5-10 minutes I saw a woman coming down a different street and I asked if this was her son. She said he was and that she'd been looking for him. She said thank you for finding him. I told the operator the mother arrived and they told me to tell her that she needed to stay to prove she was the child's mother. I explained this to the mom which I found really awkward but she stayed a few minutes and then said she needed to go get her 2.5 year old son. Off she went and I was really hoping she would actually come back. I waited a few more minutes and the officers arrived. As they were opening their car doors the mom came back with both kids. I explained to the cops that she had shown up while I was waiting for them. They started talking to her and I asked if I could go and they said yes.
I put Stinx back in the car and as I was driving away the mother and kids were already walking back to their house.
It was really bizarre. The first thing I did was judge. Who's kid is this? Where is his parents? Why is no one watching him?
Then I thought about what could have happened. What if he had walked out into the street? He was so small no one would have seen him stepping out between cars. What if some creepy person found him? He easily could have been abducted!!
But then I thought about how this could happen to any parent. I mean, just this summer, I was at a playgroup where a 1 year old wandered off and stepped out onto the street while his mom wasn't watching. And I think some kids are just more adventurous and likely to be escape artists. I don't want to excuse his mom completely, but she may have turned her back for just a minute, or ran into the house to get the phone, or whatever. Maybe she was busy dealing with his 2.5 year old brother and he bolted out the front door.
To make this even worse though was that his mother looked like she had the crap beaten out of her. She had two black eyes and other bruises. It was sad.
I just don't know what to make of it. I guess I am just happy that he didn't get hit by a car or stolen by some creepy weirdo. I'm hoping his family is safer than it seems.
When I put myself in her shoes - say Stinx wandered away from the house and I couldn't find him for at least 10 minutes, and then I walked around the block and saw him sitting on the grass with another mother and her son, I'd be running over. I'd be balling! Definitely, I'd be balling. Talking to the police I'd be a crying mess. Maybe that's just my personality, or the mother guilt I'd put on myself.
I don't know. It was weird. Part of me still wants to judge her and yet the other part of me just feels compassion for her knowing it could happen to anyone.