Yesterday...at exactly 1:52 pm...I nearly ended the lives of two little boys riding a bike in the streets in my neighborhood. I know what the time was because I looked at my watch to see exactly when my life and the lives of those children had almost been changed forever. It was so damn close I very nearly rediscovered my lunch from the shock.
I have often wondered through the years just how mothers can allow such small children free reign in the streets of Bahrain. I noticed this odd phenomenon when I first arrived on these shores 22 years ago...the astounding number of very small children that just run, from early morning until mahgreb, in the streets...without supervision of any kind. We are talking 3 and 4 year olds...I wouldnt allow my 3 and 4 year olds to be on a separate floor from me in our two floor govt house years back...much less let them play outside...I dont get this blase' approach to childcare over here that completely lacks that "OMG wheres my child?" awareness that I felt a million times every day of their young lives (and still do even though they are mostly grown). It just doesnt seem to be apparent here. (for some)
I realize that mothers love their children here no less than anywhere else in the world...Im not saying there is no love...Im saying there just doesnt seem to be concern...which is a very different thing.
I often read of children dying through "accidents" and when I read how they died the first thing Im thinking is..."where were the parents....the mom?". Those two little boys that drowned last year is case in point. They were 7 and 8 if I recall and drowned while swimming alone...the parents and the whole neighborhood was up in arms blaming sand robbers for making pits in the beach that its believed the boys fell into and drowned. I understand her anguish and loss but I want to know...why were a 7 and 8 year old allowed to swim alone in the first place? And apparently it was common practice for them to do so...so it wasnt a one off that we can excuse the mom and say she really didnt know what they were up to. I just dont get it.
I do realize that even with the closest of supervision accidents can and do happen with small children...so having said that...how can we even for a moment allow them to walk blind into the jaws of danger by opening the front door and letting them face the dangers alone....I just dont get it.
The mother of those two little boys I nearly ran over would have cried for the rest of her life if the worst had happened...and for sure she would have blamed me and maybe even cursed me for the breaking of her heart...as I would blame myself no doubt...but would she ever consider that there is some blame on her part as well? Why would she allow her 2 very small children to play in a busy street without her there watching over them...why allow them to worry about their own safety when they cant even wipe their own noses when needed?
I almost ran over and possibly killed two little boys yesterday that had no business being where they were...and yet as I drove away, heart pounding in my throat, sweat dripping from my brow, and my lunch deciding whether it was staying put or not...all I could think about was this...
This time they were lucky.
I just dont get it.