Thursday, September 2, 2010

How stupid can you get?

Today, I've done something really stupid, really irresponsible. I am ashamed that I did it, but what's done is done and I can't undo it.

Today, I let Marie go off with a complete stranger. Yes, you've heard me, a complete stranger. I recoil at the horror of doing this. How stupid can I get?

Marie got out of school with her new friend, L. I had been briefly introduced to her mom by my ever so helpful neighbour (and by briefly, I mean: 'Hi J. Have you met my new neighbour?'). I was talking away to her mum and we mentioned a play date, sometime next week. Which eventually turned into today. As soon as the girls heard that, of course, they didn't need to be told twice. And they happily skipped away to L's car, real fast, fast enough so that we couldn't tell them to come back.

So we agreed to meet back at the school at 5.30pm. No phone numbers had been exchanged, I had met the mum for the first time there and I let Marie go off to her house, in her car, without knowing exactly where it was. Once again, how stupid and irresponsible do I get?

I was left standing at the gate of the school, schoolbag in hand, Noelie in the buggy, utterly disconcerted at my complete irresponsibility. I didn't know the woman from Adam (or Eve for that matter). I knew her name and that her girl was L. and she is the one sitting beside Marie in school. I had no phone number, no exact address, no make of cars (I couldn't see the car that was parked behind the school bus). What the hell was I thinking? Not much really. That's it, I wasn't thinking.

Had it been her old school, it would have been a straight no. Because I didn't know the people, I didn't know who those people knew (read into it if they knew Noodlehead or not). And here? Well, I'm pretty sure they don't know Noodlehead, that's a given. But I still didn't know the woman. What made me trust her with my child? Ok, she is pregnant if that makes it any more acceptable to let your child go off with a complete stranger because she's pregnant.

I walked back to the house, feeling sick, chastising myself for my lack of reflection. How did it turn from 'sometime next week' to 'today'?. She didn't look like a psycho, I talked to her for a few minutes and I learnt a few things about her but still, I let Marie go off with her without giving my number, or getting hers, without any more information than the general location of the house. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I started to panic a bit, I was sick with worry. My breath grew shallow, my heart started beating faster. What the hell had I just done? How did I come to trust a complete stranger met for 5 minutes and entrust them with the responsibility of my child? Silly, silly, silly.

That's the kind of stuff those bad movies are made off. I'll be the irresponsible mother, crying on the news for the safe return of her child. How stupid do I get? Just because you're in the country, doesn't mean that there aren't any psychos around. Yes but would that psycho take the shape of a pregnant woman collecting her daughter from probably one of the smallest schools in Ireland? Unlikely, but still. I took comfort in the thought that my neighbour knew her.

What did this woman think of me? She must have thought I was a complete fool. Surely, she wouldn't let her child go off with me, after having met me 5 minutes ago. Surely, nobody is that irresponsible. Well it seems that I am. But then again, she is the one who went from next week to today. I was quite happy with next week. I didn't get a chance to react. It all happened so quickly.

At 5.30 pm, we went down to the school, and as we got there, another car parked there. It was Marie, with J and L. Everything had gone really well, she was well behaved. I chatted for a few minutes to her. I still don't know her any better. All, I know is that she returned my child in one piece, thank god. And that they have a cat, two dogs and two horses.

You won't catch me doing that again! Playdates will have to be organized well in advance, no spur of the moment thing. And for you all gasping in horror at the thought of doing that, I completely get you. I put my hands up, I have been irresponsible and stupid.

Marie had a great time though, does that count for something and make me less of a bad mother? Probably not. Anyway, lesson learnt. It won't happen again, your honor.

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