I spent the entire drive to the restaurant telling Evie about the beautiful view. How she would be able to see the entire city, all around her. Tall glass windows stand from floor to ceiling. I was nervous that she would be scared overlooking such a big city so I tried to excite her as much as possible. At first she was a little nervous. She held my hand and sat down at our table a row back from the window edge. Every now and then she’d lean her tiny body on to one cheek and try to peek out over the side. He chin would lift and her eyes would strain as much as possible without actually having to move her body closer.
We all finished our meals and dad ordered a desert to split. He was always so good about knowing of course I want desert.
“Mommy, can I go over there,” Evie said, arm stretched out, pointing towards the table by the window.
“Of course baby, tell me about everything you can see,” I said, excited that she was ready to overcome her fear and gaze out at the beautiful city.
Livie started fussing in her high chair, and Millie started throwing bread around. I was trying to fix Livie into a sling and pick up the mess Millie was creating.
And just like that, it could happen.
My family is fine, and everything I just wrote is completely fictional. Fictional yes, but it is still an example of an everyday occurrence in LIFE. Over the weekend while so many of us searched for eggs full of candy, and sat in the laps of creepy bunnys; another family endured an unthinkable loss. While at a revolving restaurant in Atlanta, a four-year-old child accidentally became lodged between a table and the window in the revolving restaurant. Not only did this family lose a child, but they watched their child be crushed to death right in front of their eyes.
This level of tragedy is horrendous. It’s something that I’ll never understand. My hearts ache for these parents, the rest of the family, the restaurant staff, and the emergency workers who were called to the scene.
The story was released to the press shortly after the incident, and the perfect people of the world took it upon themselves to ridicule, shame, and blame the parents of the child for what happened. They cowardly pointed their fingers from behind their screens. Blame fell on the parents, the restaurant, and the innocent child.
Restaurants aren’t playgrounds, they are places for dining. I’ve seen so many loose kids nearly trip the wait staff. If they can’t sit down and enjoy a meal at a restaurant, then they’re not ready to eat at a restaurant.
This is awful – and I don’t mean to blame the parents but they should always manage their kids.
So sorry for this little boy. I see it all the time, parents allowing little children to run free. It’s not your home. Supervision of your children is expected. Tears for this little lost soul because of neglect.
This is a good reason to not let your bratty kids run wild in a restaurant. Especially dumb ones that manage to get themselves wedged in between the wall…
It is not my goal to fill your morning with more negativity then the world already does on its own. Today’s world seems to feed off of these horrible stories, and breed more negativity in our responses to such tragedy. We point fingers and cast blame, we gossip and judge. As a parent, I guess I am supposed to stick my children in a bubble… on a leash…never leave my one bed-room cushioned wall home. Then sure, maybe my children will survive. Then sure… when something does go wrong I can accept blame.
The difference between today’s parents and the parents of the previous generation is simple. It’s not that the parents of today care less about our children than older generations, despite what older generations say and think. Today’s parents are under the microscope of social media. Our lives are now center stage. Everything is posted, tweeted, pictured, FEATURED, for all to see; and all to judge. Thirty years ago when a mom read a book at the park while her children played no one said a thing. Maybe a few of the other parents were more actively playing with their kids, and maybe some of them judged the mom quietly reading. Now if a mom reads, or scrolls through facebook or does ANYTHING really, it’s a sign of neglect. People tweet, oh poor child, if only your momma cared more. People post pictures of their own children and caption them spending time with my kids, if only all parents could BE LIKE ME.
I am an extremely active parent, to the point where I annoy Evie. I worry constantly, and to be honest, I like playing on the playground still. I agree that other parents should keep a watchful eye on their children, especially out in public. That doesn’t mean they should handcuff themselves to their child and stop the child from learning and finding their independence. I tell myself often, alright, let them make friends Julie, go sit down… You’re not five anymore the playground is for kids not you…
So I sit, and I watch. After about ten minutes, I’ve watched Evie run up the steps, and down the slide about a 100 times. Like every other human on the planet, I will seek out other entertainment. I will pull out my phone, I will scroll through facebook, Instagram, pinterest. I will crack open the book I’ve been reading for the last two months and try to sneak in a couple more pages. And just like that, an accident will happen. Evie will lose her footing and fall, she will get a splinter and we will discuss amputation. I will laugh it off with her and think to myself how grateful I am that nothing more serious happened. Then as I tend to her needs, I will realize Millie is chocking on mulch on the other side of the playground. LIFE just happens people.
Most parents wake up every morning with the intention of being good parents. We wake up after another terrible night of sleep and we plan out our days. We try to include fun activities for the kids, and sanity boosting ones for ourselves. We want to leave the house; we want to go to the park. We cut up the grapes, and buckle the car seats just like the picture says to. We try our best to do it right, to keep them safe. No one wakes up and pulls out the blue prints to a revolving restaurant, carefully highlighting all of the dangerous areas our child must avoid. Don’t go near the window Evie, you know even though that’s the whole damn point of the restaurant. Don’t be small and four-years-old and easily susceptible to such a tragic accident.
This is not the parents fault. It is not the staffs fault. It is not the architects fault. It is sure not the fucking child’s fault. Get out from behind your damn screen and realize that a REAL LIFE WORLD is happening around you. It is scary and full of danger, but it is beautiful. This family needs love and prayers; they will never be the same again. Just as the parents from the Cincinatti zoo will never be the same after their child climbed in the gorilla exhibit. The parents from the Disney Park in Fl who lost their child to an alligator while watching a movie on the beach, will never be the same. No parent wakes up and says I am going to allow this horrible thing to happen. Horrible things have always happened, but now our access to information and our peep hole into everyone’s lives has made all of these accidents so visible. As the people behind the microscope looking in on the tragedy, we have the power to judge and shame, or we have the power to show compassion, empathy, love and support. I not only choose to be the latter, but I also want to demonstrate the latter so that my children can grow up and not be assholes behind screens too. Instead of commenting about what a perfect parent you are, what you would have done better, how it couldn’t and wouldn’t happen to you; try saying I’m so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you during this extremely difficult time. Then sigh a breath of relief that such a tragedy has not touched your life.
To the all involved in this horrible tragedy Saturday, I’m so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you all during this extremely difficult time.
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