Yesterday I walked into the room at my gym where they have daycare and sheepishly admitted to them I'd almost left without my son. Liam is their favorite (easily) so they thought it was funny and didn't mind waiting a few minutes after closing. They assured me that it was "no big deal" because I think they could tell I was clearly a little freaked-out having nearly left without him as I had claimed.
What they didn't know was that by "nearly left" what I really meant was I'd gotten in my car, started the engine, drove out of the parking lot, drove 2.3 miles home, got out of the car, and walked up to the front door before I remembered I didn't have him. Father of the Fucking Year.
I tend to space out quite a bit. In fact there are few things that can really focus my attention (i.e. running into a burning building, delivering a child in a car, etc.). And really my version of "spacing out" is more like a petit mal seizure rather than your standard run-of-the-mill spacing out. But we have fun with it. What I demonstrated last night was what my wife calls my "homing pigeon" instinct. If I'm in a car and I let my mind wander like I do, I inevitably end up in my driveway wondering what just happened. If Erin is with me running errands when one of my spells hits and she notices me taking "the long way" to the store, she'll make little 'coo coo' noises to bring me back. She's very cute and patient.
My first thought once I'd realized I'd abandoned my child was "FUUUUCK!!" followed immediately by "SHE MUST NOT KNOW!!". I'd hoped that Erin hadn't noticed me getting out of the car, walking up to the front door, making a face that looked like I'd just shit my pants, and jumping back in the car and tearing off down the road. But once I'd gotten back to the gym I realized that she needs to know. Everyone must know. In fact, as many people as possible need to know because I need everyone to keep an eye on me. Help me save my children from myself!!! Sure this time I'd absent-mindedly abandoned Liam in the care of qualified daycare providers but what about the next time?! I'm scared shitless by the horrors involved in forgetting important things when it comes to my children. I refuse to even let my mind go there. So if you see me on the street pushing a stroller, do me a favor and ask to see my baby. Once you've confirmed there is, in fact, a human child in the stroller, confirm it's mine and then ask about my other child. I know that's a lot to remember but If I dart off in a panic you'll know you've saved the day.