Last weekend, my husband was doing yard work. The monkey and I were inside, I was working from home. After a while, the monkey went outside to play. I could see him and Harley (his doggy) wrestling on the trampoline.
My husband came inside to talk to me. We started talking and lost track of time. After about 10 minutes, I noticed the wind was getting stronger. I told my husband I need to put a hoodie on the monkey since it is getting cold. As I go outside, I noticed the gate was opened and he wasn’t there.
We have a lock on the gate. We always make sure the gate is locked. But this time, my husband was going in and out of the back yard that he didn’t lock the gate. Plus he wasn’t planning on staying long inside.
We lost track of time. That was our mistake.
I run inside the house and scream to my husband, “The gate is open! The monkey is not there!” and we both run outside.
Far down our cul-de-sac, we see a man, holding my son’s hand. My husband runs to him and my son is making his happy sounds. The man proceeds to tell us that he saw the monkey about to go down the arroyo, and he got nervous and went to get him. He kept asking him where he lives and my son wouldn’t answer. He had been going to different houses knocking on doors to see if he belonged to anyone.
I didn’t realize how much my husband and I were impacted from that day. We both have been in some sort of phase. We haven’t been able to talk about it. We hadn’t told anyone. The fear of how this could have turned out and the guilt of how we could have let this happen again just over powered us.
What if he would have fallen down the arroyo and got hurt? No one would have heard him scream for help.
What if this stranger would have kidnapped him? We would not have known where he was.
The what if’s have tormented us.
The guilt of being terrible parents is hard to let go. The guilt of the mistake is very heavy. This past Friday, I was about to leave from work and was talking to my coworker. I don’t know how the conversation came up that I just blurted this story out to her. And I sobbed. I realized that I needed to deal with it. I had not had the courage to confront it.
My husband and I needed time to heal.
I kept telling myself if he would talk, this wouldn’t have happened. He would have been able to tell the man where he lives. He would have been able to scream for help. He would have been able to understand the danger of all of this. He would have never left in the first place. If he talked, he would have…
I finally had to snap out of this phase and realize that mistakes happen. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and make changes in our home to try to prevent this from happening again.
We keep trying.
We can’t be perfect parents. But we can promise to try our best to be better parents.