Judged

To the mother who had a go at the mum whose little boy disappeared for a few terror-filled minutes at the park just now, I have some questions.

What is the matter with you?

Did her frantic screaming of her little boy’s name disturb the tranquility of your sunny winter’s afternoon?

Have you never taken your eyes from your child for a few moments whilst out?

Could you not see her wild-eyed panic when she did not know where he was?

In those horrible moments, when she was rushing around shouting ‘He’s five, he’s wearing a blue hat and coat, he was just in the playground’ to everyone she saw, did you not feel her distress too?

I ran off in the opposite direction with Zee, to see if he was by the library. He wasn’t.

As I came back into the park, it was quiet once more, and in the glare of the sun I could see her by the fence, watching children playing on the slide opposite.

I breathed a sigh of relief; if my heart was racing, how must she be feeling?

I stopped to ask. She was suddenly lost in a stream of consciousness as she tried to explain what happened. I could see she was overwhelmed. The tears came as she said ‘And then another mum had a pop at me for not watching him, but I . . . But I . . .’

I did the only thing I could think of to do, which I would want in that situation. I hugged her and told her they are so fast, it must have been horrible, she should go home with her boy and have a large glass of wine tonight.

So, to Judgemental Mum. I hope you find your empathy. I hope this never happens to you, and you don’t experience the sharp end of a stranger’s tongue in the midst of a frightening time.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. So be kind if you witness it. No one needs to be made to feel worse than they already do. Your judgement was not welcome. Your kindness, I’m sure, would have been.

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