We returned Sunday night from our vacation and on Monday afternoon the kids and I went out to run a few errands, first of which was the post office to pick up our mail that had been on hold for a week. We parked in front and since the kids were really enjoying listening to the same song over and over, (one of those unknown primary hymns called "Little Purple Pansies." It sends them into uproarious laughter every time they hear it. I think the reason can be found in the double "P" alliteration. It's just too closely relates to other double "P" words like "poo-poo" and "pee-pee," and we all know how utterly hilarious those words are to anyone under the age of 12. "Little purple pansies trimmed with yellow gold, growing in the corner of the garden old...."Hysterical!!!)
... anyway, I made a quick "no-brainer" decision and said "OK, you kids stay here- I'll be right back." ( I'm sure that a collective, horrified gasp can now be heard from many) And then I told Tustin to lock the door, (because there are bad people out there!)- and of course I kept the car running (because it's summer and I did not wish to cook my children.) I went in and got the mail, and upon my quick return was met by the angriest police officer ever. He proceeded to tell me I was "completely irresponsible" and tell me all the reasons why I was a failure to society and a horrible mother. Mainly, he made it clear that my children could have put the car into gear and driven themselves off into oncoming traffic and died. (now- I must say that he was completely right and of course I had done a stupid thing. I reiterate my "no-brainer" statement from earlier. Especially when you consider that Tustin was in the driver seat and not in his own seat where he belonged. Although he was there- not to try and drive- but to work the stereo control and make sure that "Purple Pansies" played over and over again.)
I could have told the officer many things to try and redeem myself, but the ones I did try turned out ALL wrong. I told him that my son was 8- (that's old enough to be left in a running car right...right? -OK, not so much.) Then I told him that I left the keys in because "I didn't want the car to get hot." Again, that reason didn't pan out so well and he yelled at me and in complete disgust told me to"get in the car." I decided it was in my best interest to keep my mouth shut. He angrily stormed around the car as he wrote on his ticket pad and, I'm sure, thought of all the reason why an awful excuse for a mother like me should be arrested. Meanwhile I was in the car trying to put on a pleasant face for my children. After all, I have always taught them that Police Officers are the good guys and our "helpers" and I wasn't about to destroy that belief. Unfortunately my positive, upbeat attitude worked against me. I think in the officer's mind I was I was "unaffected" and didn't care. ( Lesson: sometimes, smiles DON'T "make the world a better place. In my case they made the officer more irate.) Little does he know that I've hardly slept for days as I've punished myself for being such a loser. I'll be the first to admit that I used horrible judgement, and I'll be forever grateful that nothing bad happened to my kids
Soon, the officer finished his work and came to the window where he ordered me out of the car. (I have to admit that my good composure almost wained as I truly believed that now was going to be my personal Lindsay Lohan/Britney Spears moment. I was going to be arrested. I would get an ugly mug shot- I hadn't even showered for over 36 hours! My children would be forever tainted by their convict mother.....) Fortunately, I didn't get arrested- yet. He gave me another firm lecture where he said something to the effect of "I usually don't give tickets to women with their children, but I'm giving you a summons and you'll have to come to court." and he again repeated that I was "completely irresponsible." This is where I have to ask.. Out of all the law-breaking mothers this man has met in his career, am I really the worst and most disgusting? How can this be?
So, unfortunately, now I have to go before a judge and I'm a complete wreck about it. What will the officer say about me? Truth be told, we'd never met before this, so the only thing he has to go on is that moment of horrible parenting. I'm sure he's convinced that I do not love my children and that I could care less about their safety, when in fact most of the time I'm such a stress case about it that I have to constantly remind myself to step back and not hover!
There you have it. The story of why I am an unfit mother. I can't sleep anymore. All that goes through my mind is all my worries... Do I need a lawyer? What should I say? I know I am guilty as charged. Will they send Social Services to my house? Will I never be allowed to be alone with my children again? Will I get a scarlet letter and be prohibited from all future primary callings and PTA functions? I am in major distress over this!
Stanton keeps assuring me that all will be OK. In the grand scheme of things I know he is right. After all, I do have the comfort of knowing that they are my children forever, but I would like the opportunity to raise them in THIS life....My court date isn't until September 18th. I wish it were sooner, but I guess it's only right that I should have to suffer longer- because in fact, I did make a big mistake.
This has also been a lesson to me on discerning the spirit. Why is that? Well there was a brief moment in the post office where I thought, "I should go get Tustin out of the front seat." If I had followed that thought, this never would have happened. But, I didn't. I really, really wish that I had....
...Chalk that up to another Sunday School lesson.