To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. ~Mary Oliver, American poet
[wait, don’t leave]
Gotta unload these groceries. Start dinner. Get Sissy to her friend’s house and Bubba to the ball game.
[wait, it’s hot]
Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Hubby will be home soon and expect dinner on time.
[wait, you forgot something]
Baby is sound asleep. I’ll roll down the windows and let her nap. She was up half the night, and everybody knows you don’t wake a sleeping kid. Five minutes … tops.
[wait, you’re leaving me alone?]
Bubba, you or Sissy run out and check on your sister.
Still sleeping? Okay, give her five more minutes and try again. In the meantime, turn off that TV, Sissy. You and Bubba help me put away these groceries.
[mama, get me outta here]
Bubba, put the phone down. Sissy, turn off that video game. Everybody in the kitchen — now! — so we can start dinner.
[can’t get out. getting hot]
There’s your father. Hi, honey. How was your day? Early dinner tonight. Both kids have plans (wink, wink)
[so hot. can’t breathe]
The baby? She’s fine, probably sleeping.
[wah, can’t cry. too hot. strapped in]
Yes, I had one of the kids bring her inside a while ago.
She’s not in her crib? Wait, where is she?
What do you mean, she’s still in her carseat? How can that be? Which of you kids didn’t bring the baby in?
Note: An average of 37 kids die each year in hot cars, whether from being forgotten, from crawling inside and accidentally locking themselves in, or (horrors!) being left behind intentionally. More than 750 have died since 1998 from pediatric vehicular heatstroke. This is inexcusable in a civilized land, but sadly, scientists claim it can happen to anybody.
Kids’ body temperatures climb 3-5 times faster than an adult’s. Even a mild 57-degree temperature in a shady parked car with the windows down can result in heatstroke.
Thousands of animals die each year from heatstroke or suffocation after being left alone in vehicles. Even the shortest errand can turn deadly.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but please pay attention. For happier Mother’s and Father’s days, don’t ever leave a child or a pet untended in a car!