So over the holiday weekend we went down to Vegas. I lived there for about 6 years prior to Oklahoma, and my Granny and some of my cousins from my father’s side still live there. Its a “quick trip” that we can go down for a weekend and still be back in time for work on Monday. By quick trip, I mean it used to be a quick trip when Dave and I had no kids. Now, its about 8-9 hours, depending on how many potty breaks we have to take.
We drove down Wednesday, as Dave had taken Thursday off. The drive was a LOT of rain. The girls were excellent and we got in sometime after 12am. We went to bed and then Thursday didn’t do a whole lot of anything. We got in the jacuzzi and played with the girls, and that night went to our favorite store, Trader Joe’s, and picked up some dinner and a couple side things to go with the wings we were having from Buffalo Wild Wings. My Granny and Grandpa work at the LDS temple in Las Vegas on Thursdays, so it was a little break for us with just the girls, which doesn’t happen very often, considering we live with family.
Friday my cousin got there(WAHOOOO!!!!!) and I “skyped” with my Aunt Anita. I haven’t talked to her in something like 2 years. I think the last time we spoke was when I told her I was pregnant with Charli. It was good to talk to her, I got to “meet” her little boy Andrue, who is about a year older than Tori. Its so weird to me because Andrue is technically my cousin, but it feels like he’s not, because he’s the same age as my daughter. That’s how spread out my family is. Anita also got to “meet” Dave and then later Tori, when she woke up screaming. It was good to talk to her and catch up!
I had an AWESOME time with my cousin Brooke. The time was too short, but we managed to spend a large chunk of Saturday just hanging out. We went and with Tori, all got manicures and pedicures. The place we went to sucked, but it was more about the time together, then the actual manicure. We were able to talk a lot and it was so fun getting to know her. She’s 7 years younger then me, and being that we’ve always lived away from family, I’ve never really had the chance to get to know her. We had so much fun together and I only wish it was longer!
The rest of the trip was a wash. I’m not going to go into too many details, as really, the details are exhausting and maddening. However I will discuss my BIGGEST problem of the whole trip.
I CANNOT STAND people who don’t respect others rights and wishes. In this circumstance I’m referring to my parenting rights for my child, and my wish that she be in a car seat AT ALL TIMES when in a vehicle.
On the 4th of July I awoke to, “Sarah, I can’t find Tori anywhere, she not in the house, in the back or front yard and both your grandparents’ cars are gone.” I flew out of bed freaking out. I called my Granny’s phone and my Grandpa answered and said that Tori was “wandering the house” and so they took her with them when they drove over to the park where their church breakfast was being held. I nearly had an aneurysm. They did not take her in a car seat and they did not tell us where they were going or even leave a note.
When Granny got home she justified it to me that we weren’t awake and that Tori was up wandering the house- Dave was awake in our bedroom when Tori first woke up. The total amount of time she would have been “wandering” was about 20 minutes. It was 7am, not 12 in the afternoon- it wasn’t like we were just being lazy and sleeping in. She then continued to tell me that they only went 6 blocks-which was actually 3 miles, ONE WAY, and that’s if she only went there and back, and didn’t take any detours, which are normally commonplace for her. And furthermore they “didn’t pass one car on the way there or back.” Obviously a blatant lie. On top of all this, she claimed that she “double buckled” Tori. When we talked to Tori about this, she explained to us that she was in the front seat(can you say airbag and windshield?!) and she only had one buckle on. The details could go on and on. Here is why Dave and I are really upset.
What is most frustrating about my family is that this is not the first “car seat” incident that has happened. A few years ago we were at my parents house. My little sister took the car that had Tori’s seat in it and promised she’d be back before church the next morning. She wasn’t. My father gave Dave and I a huge lecture about how nothing is more important(apparently not even the safety of my child, his only granddaughter at the time) than going to church and that car seats didn’t exist when he was a kid, and he’s still alive.
To Dave’s credit, he was very adamant about not taking her and repeatedly told me that he was not comfortable with her not riding in a seat, and even while driving to church said, “Just so you know, I’m really NOT happy about this”. To my discredit, I allowed my parents’ shortsighted, extremist views about church attendance influence me enough to tell myself that we needed to go and take Tori without a seat. Sometimes I get after Dave for not standing up for us to his family and his parents, but really, he is so much better at this than me. I wish I’d stood up for not just, Tori and her safety, but for Dave and I. We knew then what was best for Tori, and we still know now what is best for both girls. Taking Tori without a seat that day is something I regret still. Yes, nothing ever happened, but if it had, I probably would have died out of anguish and guilt. That is the ONE and ONLY time Tori has ever ridden without a carseat-that is, until this weekend.
On top of all the fear and everything else, there is another part of this that makes absolutely no sense to Dave and I. A few years ago, my cousin was killed in a carwreck. She survived the initial wreck, but was basically in a coma for 2 years before she died. Towards the end she’d started to regain some communication form, but she never spoke and was a vegetable for the remainder of her life after the accident. While my cousin could not have been saved by a car seat, it is still baffling to Dave and I, that my family, who has experienced tragedy as a result of a car wreck, does not “get” the whole car seat thing. I guess to us, it would make more sense for my family to be car seat Nazi’s, considering the things that we’ve seen and experienced as a result of the wreck that eventually took my cousin’s life.
Its saddest to me that we cannot trust our children’s safety with my family. Especially after this past weekend, Dave and I feel like we now have to be even more protective of them around my family, because of the lack of care, concern, and respect for not just our children, but our wishes as their parents. Its sad to me that in my family, we can’t learn a lesson from someone else’s mistake. That one tragedy is not enough to make people realize how short life is, and that everything should be done to keep children safe- even the “inconvenience” of a car seat.