After a little hesitation, I thought I would touch upon a topic that is perhaps out of the scope of my usual blog posts; I mean the terrible tragedies that happened here lately, of babies and small children dying after they were forgotten in cars. A quick Google search proved that it does not just happen in Israel. There was also a recent incident of a child drowning in a wading pool.
I talked about this with my husband more than once. "How could it be? How could it happen? I can't wrap my mind around it; I just can't"; I said. I had this terrible, terrible vision of a little helpless baby struggling against the straps of her car seat, calling, crying, unheard, perhaps, unnoticed by the passers-by... until the heat and the sun did their evil work, and she passed out, never to wake again. I shut my eyes tight and then opened them again, quickly, just to make sure that my two little ones are right here in front of me at the table, doodling with crayons.
I cannot judge; I cannot blame the parents; I cannot even say I support a prison sentence, or believe it will make any difference. The way I see it, they were already judged and punished severely enough. I don't see how anyone can truly go on with such a burden of grief and guilt upon them.
There was, however, something in the article that caught my eye. "Initial reports indicated that the father, who worked the overnight shift as a security guard, apparently forgot about the baby after dropping his older daughter at her day care. He then went home and slept for seven hours, and only when he awoke did he remember the infant."
To me, this speaks of a hectic life; an impossibly hectic life; a life which most of us are unsuited for. I am blessed; I have been a mother for 4.5 years now, and as of yet I don't know what it's like to get up in the morning, every day, and rush the children to some places where someone would look after them, and then rush to another place myself - all this done under terrible pressure of time, because we cannot, of course, afford to be late. And I just cannot help thinking - if there was no need to rush these babies out of the house in the morning - if they could have just stayed home with their mothers - if there was leisure of time and of mind to remember them always - isn't there a chance they would have been saved?
"At the beginning of the month a 9-month-old girl died after she was left in a parked car in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan." I cannot think of any subrub of Tel Aviv which is completely empty of people, no matter what the hour. Were there no passers-by? Did no one notice the baby in the car? I'm sure that if I strolled around the nieghbourhood and there was a baby in one of my neighbours' cars, I would have noticed. But then, I almost always stroll at a leisurely pace with my children. People who rush cannot be expected to stop and peek into someone else's car. And everyone rushes; that is the normal course of things.
But should it be? Suppose we ask - what is the speed limit of life, and how do we know we have long passed it? Perhaps the indication of it is that people are forgetting, actually forgetting, about their own children. Not for a moment, but for enough time that lives are lost, families ruined, hearts broken beyond repair.
Suppose we slow down. Suppose we have a look through the glass. Suppose we see a baby that was forgotten in a car, and is just about to pass out from the heat; suppose we raise an alarm early enough to save one little life. Wouldn't it be worth the few minutes of delay?