I thought I was a good mother, I recently found out that the very thing I did to protect my child put her in harms way.
Princess Petunia is the much wanted, long awaited, only child of parents who endured several pregnancy losses, were told they would never have a biological child, went through IVF, and against all odds, were blessed with this tiny, perfect proof that miracles happen on an ordinary day.
When we finally learned we were to be parents we were thrilled, our families were thrilled. We spent our days protecting her. I worked nights and her Dad worked days so we didn't have to put her in daycare until she went to school, then only before and after school. She was safe, she was loved, she was the sun we revolved around.
In the past three years this beautiful, sweet princess became bitter, moody, even mean at times. I chalked it up to teenage angst, only child syndrome, her parents were divorced, after all, she wasn't really a bad kid, just moody. About three months ago she asked to go to a counselor. I got her the first available appointment, what my baby needs, my baby gets.
Yesterday she confided to me something that she had already told her counselor and her dad: when she was six the driver for the daycare bus molested her.
My mind flashed back to the time she came home from daycare with a toy we hadn't bought for her, when I asked her where she had gotten it, she told me the bus driver gave it to her because she was such a good girl on the bus, never cried or screamed.
I left feeling like I had taken care of this, and besides, the Princess really is a great kid. Little did I know, the damage had already been done. You see, about a month or so earlier the day care had sent a letter home to all the parents explaining that due to the shortage of buses and drivers, sometimes it would be necessary for them to drop the children off up to an hour before school started, with no adult supervision. It was basically a permission slip asking me if they could not do what I was paying them to do. I told the director that they could not drop my six year old off at school to be unsupervised for an hour, if I did that it would be child neglect, I wasn't going to let them do it either. Princess Petunia was to stay on the bus until she could be supervised.
The conversation with my baby, who is now almost 17, started yesterday with: "Mommy, remember when I had to stay on the bus...?"