Three-year-old LaShaun Lovejoy Huff loved the water, and a few weeks ago was having one of the best days of his life during a trip to a Texas beach with his family. Then the trip took a tragic turn.
According to Chron.com, LaShaun was walking with his aunt when an enormous tree trunk -- 6-feet thick and 40-feet long -- came sliding off of dune toward them. Though they tried to escape its path, and his aunt and grandfather tried to stop it, all three were pinned underneath the tree. LaShaun was crushed to death.
Heartbreaking; and it's terrifying to think that the life of a child can be taken that easily, in a split second.
It's one of those things that makes us all say I just can't imagine -- one of those freak accidents that no parent could prevent. We can get our kids all of the vaccinations in the world, teach stranger danger, make them wear helmets when they crawl, and douse them regularly in hand sanitizer, but it's cases like this that show us how little control we really have over their safety when it comes down to it. And that is completely unnerving as a parent.
I was speaking to a friend the other day about another awful tragedy that had taken a child she knew way too early, and she said after that she vowed to be a different kind of mother. She said no longer does she want to be the mom who always says "no"; she wants to be the mom who says, "why not?" Why not, indeed. It's certainly a much healthier approach than my initial reaction to stories like this to just want to wrap them in bubble wrap and never let them leave the house.
Of course, we all have to implement some rules and order in our lives or chaos would ensue, but too often we stick to them because just because they're the rules or because doing otherwise is more work. I would hate to count the number of times I utter "no," or "maybe later," or "next time," to my children. I want to be a why not mom too.
Why not change course on the way to school once in awhile on a beautiful day and head to the park instead? Why not get as messy as possible in the mud? Why not wake them up just to show them a gorgeous moon and have a midnight snack some night? Why not let them crawl into bed in the middle of the night with me until they're 18 if they want?
Because the simple truth is that I'd rather ask myself "why not" not now rather than "why didn't I later."
Do tragedies like this make you want to change your parenting strategy?
Image via Mono_Toni/Flickr