Neglect

There is apparently a news report about some parents in France who forgot their 3 year old on the side of the highway. Shock horror.

Actually, I don’t see the big deal. One of my ex’s claimed his mom once forgot him at the grocery store when she took his cousins with her and lost count of the kids. Obviously, his brother thought this was a windfall and didn’t bother point out there was one less child in the car.

My uncle would regularly have his kids sound off to make sure he hadn’t misplaced one. Even so, we cousins briefly managed to lose the younger group who were all under the age of ten at the time at the Rand Easter Show after deciding riding a roller coaster they were too small for was a good idea. Unfortunately, our independent minded younger siblings wandered off in the interim. We had a panicked half hour before they turned up again. I suppose an argument could be made why on earth the adults in charge thought it was smart to leave about thirteen children all under any legal working age in most countries with child protection laws unattended in a place like the Rand Show. My only excuse is it was a different era perhaps and that side of the family were quite big on survival of the fittest and natural selection so left us to our own devices quite a lot.

This never did explain my mother however. I remember calling her before the days of mobile phones being the norm. She answered and went ‘Who is this?’ and then ‘How are you calling me?’ At which point I almost lost it and pointed out OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t in the house and would not be home for lunch because she had forgotten to pick me up at the shopping centre and this was a public telephone. This was only a few months after she’d done exactly the same thing at the school (which was an occurrence that I was to undergo about three times vs my siblings none – I don’t know if she was trying to tell me something). The school had actually been worse as it had involved being completely alone in falling darkness, even the maintenance staff having left and having to knock on doors to try please ask if I could call my home as the ticky box was now locked up too and I didn’t have any money anyways as I didn’t expect to be there then.

On these occasions the reaction was similar. It was somehow my fault that they had neglected to pick me up after telling me I should wait for a later lifting time because my siblings needed to be dropped off all over town first and I could ‘work in the library’ were the exact words rather than sit in a hot car. Of course, once everyone arrived home, noone actually said someone is missing. It was the same accusatory attitude I was inconveniencing supper by not being present.

My parents were not bad parents. But scatty. So scatty. A lesson in survival if nothing else. And an era when these things were possible. I have no doubt if this had happened today I would probably be in foster care.

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2 Comments

Filed under family

2 responses to “Neglect

  1. You are not alone. We nearly abandoned a daughter in darkest Africa – she had got out of the car again after a wee break and we drove on for some distance before suddenly becoming alarmed at the silence. My father once, in mid-Johannesburg, didn’t give me enough time to get onto the pillion seat of his motorbike and roared off home to Germiston. He didn’t come back for me; decided I had decided to go somewhere to do something. I had to borrow money for a bus.

  2. I can remember being forgotten at school by an aunt! not needed therapy mind šŸ™‚

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