Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN (04/13/17)
TITLE: A Parenting Critic No More
By Jennifer Liang
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From: The Insensitive Witness
Hi. How are you doing? I hope you’re doing well. Today is the five year anniversary of the death of your little boy. I am sure you must be missing him so much. He would be about eight right now. Is that right?
I know you remember that date well because you lost your little angel in an accident. An accident that was witnessed by so many. And most of us turned the other way and acted like it was wrong for you to grieve. Wrong for you to cry about it because somehow it had been your fault. You were the one that couldn’t keep your little boy under control. He ran away from you and somehow that reflected your bad parenting skills. After all, we would never let our little boy run around like that. We would never, ever, let him put himself in such a dangerous situation. We thought we knew what was best for our non-existent children.
I am writing this letter to let you know that I now understand. Accidents do happen and little boys are hard to control. I pray to God every day for protection from His angels for my little boy. Now that he is three I have a deeper understanding of what it truly takes to be a parent and I remember how well you handled yourself before that freak accident. Yes, someone was watching that day and saw it from the beginning. You disciplined him well but he escaped for that one last time. The result was every mother’s nightmare. Your family was left with nothing. On top of that you watched the whole thing from only a few feet away! And we judged you for being a bad parent? It’s not like you could have foreseen the awful consequences but we wanted to think that you could have. Or maybe it’s that we want to be able to see it before something bad happens to us or our family.
It was not your fault but society keeps telling you so. I was once a critic of your parenting skills and now as a mother of a son the same age I cringe at the insensitiveness of my stupidity. Yes. I will call it what it is. My comment to you was so stupid and something I will regret for the rest of my life. I saw the pain in your eyes and I tried to wipe it away. “You look young. You can try for another one.” Ugh. I seriously thought that another baby would replace the one you had? I would cry for days if something happened to my preschooler or his baby sister. Why didn’t you just punch me right then? I know I would if someone said that to me.
In conclusion, I am sorry that society has treated you the way it has. Little boys will be little boys and no matter how hard we try to keep them safe they will be pushing our boundaries. Accidents do happen and sometimes we can’t control it. I’m sorry you were not allowed to grieve in public and I hope you had good friends with shoulders to cry on. Does he have a little sibling? Make sure you tell him/her about their big brother. He really was a cutie and I know your heart must be aching with every memory. His smile was infectious. It is such a shame to have lost a little playful one at such a young age.
One last thought. You have a keeper in your husband. I saw the way he played with his son moments before he ran away. I also saw the way he cared for you through the entire tragedy. He never left your side. Make sure you let him know his worth. You were, and are, an inspiration to me and have made a world of difference in my parenting. I plan to give my children and husband an extra squeeze tonight in remembrance of this anniversary. Thank you.
Fiction inspired by recent events in the news.
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