children drown in swimming poolA news story out of Islip, New York on Long Island will have every parent crying. Two young siblings, a 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, went missing from their home yesterday only to be found drowned in the neighbor's pool. The pool owner has been cited for insufficient fencing, but I am sure that provides little comfort for their mother.

Little Ralph and Sharon Knowles paid the price for their neighbor's lack of adequate fencing. It's hard to imagine two beautiful children gone just like that. As a mom of two children just one year behind Ralph and Sharon, I can imagine my two little explorers wanting to do something like that. Four & six and five & seven happen to be the ages when EVERYONE says, "It has gotten so much easier for you." Some even call it the "golden age." It is, too. They are so sweet and young and innocent still. But they are also more independent. This story is a reminder of just how young they really still are.

When children are babies, we baby-proof every possible hard edge. We lock our cabinets and keep them in our arms 99 percent of the day. By age 4, this has started to change. I will even let my children play in the backyard for small periods of time while I am in the kitchen cooking. Granted, our kitchen has a huge window that looks over the backyard and they are always in my sight. But still. This is the age of more freedom and independence. Letting go in that way is good for both mom and child.

I won't change my behavior because of this story. I know horror stories happen even to the best parents and that being overly paranoid will not stop them from happening. But it does break my heart for this mom who will undoubtedly blame herself even if it's completely not her fault in any way.

Losing two kids like that is unimaginable. A worse nightmare than my subconscious can even conjure.

These horror stories sell well and get a lot of attention. They often provide moms on message boards and in comments sections plenty of opportunity to feel smug and superior and say they would NEVER do such a thing. But we are all fallible and we are all doing the best we can. Even a mom who DOES give her child a little more freedom than another (and it isn't clear this mom even did) is often not at fault if something happens to her babies.

Things happen. Life can be random and cruel and sometimes downright tragic. Sometimes there is no one really to blame. My heart is broken for these two innocent siblings who probably just wanted to explore.

There are no words.

Do you immediately jump to blaming parents for tragedies? If so, why?

 

Image via Purple_Mecha/Flickr