Last year, Christmas changed a bit for my family. We didn’t know our children very well yet and we had two kids to attend to. We didn’t do much aside from the usual family get-togethers and the kids were the added bonus. Christmas for my family this year has been quite a bit different than years before. This year, I have three children. Christmas gifts are mostly centered around the kids, and activities have been for all of us. A good part of it being for my wife to get some great pictures.
One of those events was going to Stone Mountain Park’s Christmas Celebration. It was a wonderful time. Kids saw Santa, we walked through several stores, rode the train around the mountain, and watched one of the laser light shows. At the end, there were fireworks. The kids were behaving like little angels, which made the night that much more enjoyable. We met up with some friends and enjoyed some of the festivities, then ate a hearty meal at a local IHop. Plenty of food, conversation and good cheer.
Now to the negative side of our wonderful evening…
There was one thing that just kept bugging me and my wife. The more I think about it, the more I have to write about it. It happened several times with us, and several times with our friends. Random children seemed to be left behind in different locations. One boy, about two years old was waiting with his family to ride the train. Next thing you know, his mother is carrying her other child to the boarding platform, leaving her son to fend for himself amongst many strangers. He was playing with the ropes between columns and burned his hands. When he looked up for his mother’s support, no mom. Luckily, the lady in front of us recognized the boy and who he was with and directed him back to his mom.
This is the same kind of thing that happened to us at least 3-4 times and to our friends twice. Now, with our own kids, we made sure they had our hands at all times. When we were standing in line for the train, we kept the kids between us and facing the children. We played in line and had a good time. But we were always watchful to make sure none were left, or wondered very far. Same with our friends. Each and every time, these poor kids were scared out of their wits not being able to find their parents. I know what it feels like, because it’s happened to me as a boy. My dad left me at the grocery store. Then yelled at me, 5 years old, for not paying attention.
I’m sure there are all kinds of excuses, but damn people. If you really have that much trouble keeping tabs on your little ones, you might want to think about some kind of kid leash, or rope system. Something. Not that I believe it’s necessary beyond actually being attentive, but if you really cannot keep track of your kids, then find a way. I’m all too aware of the sick bastards out in this world and they do like to go where little children will be, where they might have chance to take a child. There’s one area specifically for kids to play with Nerf-style balls and a massive playground. In there was a man, who looked like what one might think of a pedophile, talking with random children. Gave me goosebumps.
I know, I know. It’s Christmas, don’t judge people you don’t know, lest you be judged, blah, blah, blah… Fuck that! When I feel uncomfortable with some people, it’s usually with good reason. Besides, I have children to think about and protect now.