I was arrested on or about May 8, 2014. My whole life has changed. I never thought I would ever be arrested.
“Why did you do it?” the police officers asked.
I now know that was the most ignorant thing I could have ever done in my life. I left my kids alone, unattended, and unsupervised in my car that was parked in front of the store. I went inside to go to customer service. I was gone one minute and people immediately notified the police.
I was handcuffed and taken to jail. In the midst of the shame and sadness, I could only be grateful that God had saved my children from something worse happening to them. I was able to leave the jail that night out on a bond to return to my children, whom I missed greatly.
I got a real wake-up call as I realized all the things that could have gone wrong in a matter of seconds. The engine could have stopped and the car could have shut off; the AC could have stopped working, my two year old could have unbuckled and put the car in drive crashing into the wall; I realized later online that my son could have gotten his head stuck in the power window and died the way many others have died that way (KidsAndCars.org); and worst of all, my children could have gotten kidnapped and then I wouldn’t know whether they were alive or dead; raped or sold.
In the midst of what I was going through, I could only be thankful that my children were safe and unharmed. My children were in the care of my husband and mother, while I faced my reality check. The reality is that people will kidnap your kids, or maybe they just want your car and throw your kids out, like what happened a few months ago where a jogger/walker heard a baby crying in the woods and found a baby in their car seat, covered in ants. The car thief didn’t even realize there was a baby in the car until after he stole it. This happens every week in our country!
After my incident, I thought it must be ‘ok’ to quickly run inside my house if I ‘forgot my wallet’. I talked to others who gave me the ok and said as long as you run in and run right back out, basically my kids should be in no harm for those few seconds. I later contacted those people and let them know that it doesn’t matter if it’s “only a few seconds.” It is never ok to leave your kids alone in the car.
I turned the radio up one day, and the song said, “The devil takes you to places you don’t want to go, and makes you stay longer than you want to stay.” This was it. This was God talking to me and this was my story.
I later went on a great website called KidsAndCars.org where it shows you statistics, possible dangers, and most important, parent testimonies. I thank God that my testimony has a happy ending, most do not. What these testimonies from real parents all had in common is that every single one those parents loved their children and did not want to bring them harm or intentionally hurt them, but they had no idea what danger their children were in.
You see, the reality is that it is NEVER ok to leave your child in the car, and there is NEVER a good enough reason for you to do so. I now take my children out of the car in the rain, instead of running inside to get them covers, and I wake them up instead of doing trips with each sleeping child because I know that the reality is that I would rather them get a little wet or loose a little sleep because this will not put them in nearly as great danger as leaving them alone in the car.
So “why did I leave my kids alone in the car?” Because I was ignorant. Because I didn’t realize the great dangers I was putting them in. I did not know how serious it really is. And I wished that I knew then what I know now.
I am facing the possible conviction of a felony. I had to pay for a bond. I have to pay a lawyer. I have to go to court. I had to face the Department of Children and Families investigation into my family and the well-being of my children. I had to face the possibility of my children being taken away from me. I had to face my family and loved ones… I had to look them in the eye and tell them what I did. I faced the shame over and over again as I told each new person. I had to face night terrors of my children being kidnapped and never seeing them again. I had to face feeling like I was not good enough for my children and battling to believe God’s promise of who I really am and the mother that I really am versus what the media reported I was. I have to face many parenting classes. I am currently facing whether or not I will be able to work with children as this is my dream.
I no longer wish that I could change what happened, because I know that I have changed what will NOT happen ever again. This is my reality.
I pray that all of this has reached and changed how you feel about leaving your child alone in a vehicle… even for just a minute. I pray that my reality has impacted your reality.
I understand that God has let this happen in my life, so that you will not have to go through this. So that your reality check could be given to you by my testimony. Please spend some time on www.KidsAndCars.org website as it gives parents and caregivers strategies to prevent this from happening to them, and NEVER, NEVER, EVER, leave your kids in the car. Amen.