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For those of you who know me, or follow me, you know that I’m not one for quoting scripture. Me and the Big Guy have reached something of an understanding. We’re generally both “meh” about each other. It’s not the best relationship, but it works for us. But there’s something about the death of innocents that brings me back to my Protestant roots, often kicking and screaming.
You may have heard the horrible news about Mikaela Lynch. She is the 9 year old autistic who wandered away from her home last week. She was, horribly and unfortunately, found dead. While some bloggers and news outlets have provided compassionate and sympathetic posts about this incident, many others have not.
Others have judged, and judged hard. They have savaged her parents for taking their eyes off of their child for just two minutes. These “journalists” have dared to declare this child’s death – this tragedy – as a lesson for you and me. They hold these parents up as examples of what not to do. Can you imagine, at the apex of your grief, reading this – all because you took your eyes off your peanut for just a brief moment? Something we all do innumerable times each day?
How dare they? As parents, we do our best. We are fallible. We are human. We have the best of intentions; at times we get tired. We get sloppy in our safety practices. Parents of special needs children are on edge all the time. For years, well beyond what typical parents go through, we have rigorous safety plans. Keyed, double-sided deadbolts; gates; plexiglass over windows; door chimes on all external doors; cabinet locks; baby monitors and video cameras. These are a few of the safety precautions we deal with on a daily basis for our six-year-old autistic son. And he isn’t even a bolter. These features are just to keep him from getting into things within the house, and making sure that, while he isn’t a runner now, he doesn’t turn into one without us knowing. But, you know what? When I bring in the groceries, I leave the back door open. When we come home from running errands, after I get Ted out of the car, I tell him to go into the house. And I turn my back to get the next kid out. I trust him enough to go inside and nowhere else. There have been times when he has played in the garage instead. Or walked around to the front of the house. His intellectual age is not the same as his chronological. Yet, I leave him alone in the bathroom. I have multiple children. I can’t be everywhere at once. Are these risky behaviors on my part? Sure. I guess. I’m not sure how I would have my eyeballs on him any more than they are. Not sure how I would physically be able to do more.
But these judge and jury “journalists.” Where are their children right now? Can they see all of them? What about when they have to go to the bathroom? When they answer their front door? Do they lock and double-check every door and window throughout the day?
There are so many times we unknowingly escape tragedy. Unfortunately this time the Lynch family did not. As written in Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Source: http://biblehub.com/matthew/7-5.htm).” Do not presume to judge this mother, this family. Not only are you causing unfathomable grief and distress to a family already living our worst nightmare, you are acting like a complete douche.
Pray for this family. Hug your children tight. Be more patient with your stinker pants tomorrow.
But for the love of God, do not criticize this family. Do not hold them up as a lesson in what not to do. As John Donne so beautifully and morbidly wrote, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” You and your family could just as easily be the next living this hell.
Please show your humanity. And stop showing your ass.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net
Kelly is a Navy wife and mother to four children; 17-year-old NT, 6 and 5-year-old boys on the spectrum, and a brand new baby girl. Kelly has been featured in a collection of essays on special needs children entitled, “Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Children.” She can also be found at MyTidewaterMoms.com, and as a guest blogger throughout the blog-iverse. In her spare time, Kelly is the Blog Master for, and member of, the Military Special Needs Network Executive Board. You can contact her via email at KellyHafer@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com.
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