As a mom, I would be hard pressed to pick one worst nightmare when there are so many to choose from -- choking, dying young, a drowning child. The list goes on and on. But I would imagine that very high up on most of our lists is the nightmare of one morning finding our tiny toddler missing from his or her bed. That is exactly the situation the mother of 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford is finding herself in this week.
Lunsford's mother, who is pregnant with twins, last saw her daughter in her Dora PJ's at 6 a.m. But by 9 a.m. when her mother returned, she was gone. For two hours, her mother wandered around searching for her without calling 9-1-1. And because of that, the poor, devastated mom is getting some flak. I know why.
No one wants to believe this scenario is possible. No one wants to think they could put their baby to bed in their house and wake up without them. It's unimaginable. Better to blame the mom.
But it's not fair to the mom to automatically assume she is bad or that she had something to do with it. It's entirely possible that this happened. After all, it has happened before. Does anyone else remember the Polly Klaas murder in 1993? She was taken from her home at knife-point, assaulted, and strangled.
Klaas' father was on CNN discussing the Lunsford case and he said all parents should have a plan for this kind of scenario. Her terrified mother wasted precious time wandering the streets looking for her child. And while we may understand what she did -- after all, who really has a plan for this? -- we should all really consider the possibility.
No one wants to. We lock our doors at night and assume that is enough. During the day we watch our children vigilantly at the park and the mall, but we feel safe in our own homes. And though I check on my children every night, I do so more just to watch their chests rise and fall and reassure myself that they're still breathing than to check if they're still there. That scenario never even occurred to me.
When I was pregnant with my daughter five years ago, I was unable to find my dog and he was in our house. Five minutes into our search, my husband called 9-1-1. Soon after, we found him curled up in a new hiding spot -- the only one we hadn't checked. That was a dog. I have to believe that it would take even less time for me to call 9-1-1 for a child. But every person is different.
I am not making any automatic assumptions about this mother. She is living all of our worst nightmare and my heart goes out to her.
Do you think she is fishy?
Image via PinkStock Photos!/Flickr