To answer your burning question. . . Yes, I made the phone call to CPS. The caseworker I spoke to asked me if I wanted to be alerted on case updates (they will not inform you of any details, just simply when the case is closed). I chose not to hear anything. I figure I have done my part at this point and I don't need to hear anything else.
One of my commentors asked why I hadn't already? Why wouldn't I?
Well, I guess because there is that small part of me that felt for the mom. I have been there. I have needed one little thing at the store, be it milk, bananas, a spice to make something in particular, you name it. Though I have never given in to the urge, there have been many times when I have glanced in the rearview mirror only to see two kiddos sleeping peacefully and thought, "They'd never even wake up. . . I could be back in a minute. . . "
Granted, I would make some different choices (no keys in the ignition for starters), and ultimately, I don't think I could do it regardless of where my keys were, but the impulse has been there. And there have been other parenting moves that I have made that I am not necessarily proud of.
Parenting is hard work. It is a daily grind of choices that may seem small, but add up to gargantuan responsibility. While I feel I mostly hold up well to this pressure, I'll admit occasional lapses in judgment, things that a stranger might misinterpret or misunderstand.
Yes, I do recognize that there are lines we cross and lines we don't. I realize that my parenting "errors" have fortunately been minor to date and not put my children in harm's way. But for the grace of God. . . because I have made mistakes that could have ended poorly for my children and have been fortunate that they have not.
So, I guess that's why a small part of me empathasized with this mom, even if I thought she was 100% certifiable for making the choice that she did. I wondered about the day she had, the type of crap she must have endured to get to the point where she put her children in jeopardy, just to make things a bit easier on herself. Her day must have been awful and my call to CPS wasn't going to make things better. It was going to make things worse.
Ultimately, however, what made me make the call was the look on her younger child's face; the fear that baby had in its eyes. I have made mistakes, yes, and I will continue to do so, no doubt. But I pray with all of my heart never to see that look of fear and abandonment in Will or Emma's face.
And that's why I called.