Tuesday, March 24, 2009

She knows I know

When Myles was still tiny and needed to be carried to and from the van in the infant carrier, I would sometimes haul out the stroller for the short walk from the school parking lot into the school to pick Sam up in the afternoons. I saw the looks the other mothers gave as they clearly had forgotten how heavy those damn things can be, particularly when baby reaches the upper weight limit. I felt awkward and chalked it up as one of those things mothers do to one another when they have the luxury of a high horse to sit on.

The other day I passed a mother on my way out of the school. I don't know her, but from seeing her at pickup every day, I'd guess her baby is about six months old now. She's generally pretty friendly and smiles or says hello (as I do with her). On this particular day, her baby wasn't with her as she rushed into the school. In the back of my mind, I suppose I thought this was odd because her baby is always with her. Maybe I unconsciously knew something was off before I saw it...I can't be sure. But as I walked past her SUV to get to my van, I saw something move in the back seat. She had left her baby in the car alone. I turned around in shock, to see mom scurrying out the door with her older child in tow. Her eyes locked with mine for only a second before she looked to the ground and her cheeks blushed red. And suddenly there I was, sitting on that high horse of my own.

I know it was only a minute...two at most. I know we all know one another by sight (even if not enough to say hello) and we can identify each other's vehicles. I know we live in a small town where people are generally trustworthy (except for, ya know, the guy who chopped up another guy and is currently on trial for murder). But...

The truth is, I can't help but think how some days I would have loved to leave Myles strapped in the van rather than lugging him into the school...but never did. Tired and self-conscious...I just never did. I compare her to myself even though I know how unfair that can be.

She's always carrying that infant carrier when I see her now. But there is no eye contact or acknowledgment whatsoever. I suppose I can live with that.

Where do you park a high horse these days anyway?


MB said...

I went in to get bagels once and realized someone had done that. Car was right in front, mom was in line when I went in and yelled about it and asked whose it was. She fessed up and she was very embarassed. Part of me felt bad, she was running in for coffee or something, but you know, tough. I still called 911. We were in Vegas and (newsflash) it gets hot there. They take that shit pretty seriously, for good reason.

Ugh. That high horse can be a lot of work sometimes, but we've all been there.

Little Sammy said...

Here is my high horse:

I was walking on a busy street in London with my husband and son when I noticed a parked car with a baby in it. We stood there for several minutes and saw NO ONE come back to the car. I was getting my phone out to call police when the mom emerged from a shop nearby. There was no way she could have kept an eye on the baby. I was incensed and ending up in a shouting match with her - which I have NEVER done before.

niobe said...

I realize that, in the vast majority of cases, nothing bad will happen if a baby is left for a few minutes in a parked car. But, still, the idea gives me the chills. Because, you know, what if the unthinkable happened?

DD said...

Just a week ago I saw a young mom carry her baby out of the restaurant I had been eating lunch at to her car and sat in the passenger seat. I figured she was just looking for privacy to breastfeed since her husband had the carrier at the booth as well as their toddler.

Then he got up, paid the bill and buckled the toddler in, sat in the driver's seat, started the car and drove away with mom sitting in the passenger seat with that brand new baby in her arms.

What did I do? I told my friends I should call 911...but I didn't.

Apparently, my high horse is headed to the glue factory.

Pipsylou said...

My high horse:

A woman who rides to church with her two year old in her lap.