Yesterday in the seaside town of Monte Rosso I sat by the park, lost in the beauty of my surroundings and watching my three daughters play on the swings. All the world was peace and light, until I realized that, in fact, I was supposed to be watching my FOUR daughters.
Panic crashed into me like a boulder flung from the trebuchet of bad parenting.
I had offered to take all four of them to the park to give Anna a moment of peace, a walk alone, and a chance to look at hats. But apparently I’m like the last person you should leave kids with. I hadn’t seen Ronia in 15 minutes, maybe 20. I had left her on the steps of a church almost a block away (in a pedestrian-only section of the town, thank God). That’s a long time to leave a one-and-a-half year old.
When I careened up the street and around the corner, my three big girls trailing behind me, I found Ronia just where I had left her, happy as could be and under the care of a little (I’m not making this up) French circus family. They had a toddler of their own and the two babies were playing happily. The parents had convinced worried tourists not to call the police. They knew the dreamer-dad would realize his mistake and come running back.
As the scruffy long-haired dad and the mom in her flowing colors walked off with their toddler I felt like my own tribe had been looking out for me.
Still and all, I should probably be publicly flogged.