A lapse in judgment or negligence?

I would like to begin by saying Happy New Year to my fellow bloggers!

Unfortunately, we had to begin 2008 with the deaths of two young boys. The entire city has been abuzz about this issue. I have heard some of everything about their mother Aundria Jones ranging from pity to outright contempt. As a mother, I know my heart would have dropped to the floor had I been there and seen those two boys come out on those stretchers. The very thought of losing my child in such a tragic way crushed me. I also went around my apartment--checking outlets, cords, wires, etc to make sure that neither one of us were awakened or killed by a fire.

Truthfully, I think that the negative feelings directed toward Aundria Jones is only because she left the boys alone to go out on New Years Eve...period. I think if this had occurred while she made a quick run to the gas station or even to get food for them, then people wouldn't have been so up in arms. Then there is the revelation of the fact that the boys didn't even live with her that made people think "it's painfully obvious that she isn't able to properly care for those boys".
I feel terribly bad for her. She has to bury her sons over what I consider to be a lapse in judgment. It's difficult to tell right now whether or not she had made up in her mind that she was going to leave them alone. There is the possibility that she has left them alone times before without incident and that this fire (which is currently under investigation) was a freak accident. Of course, there is the possibility that she actually used this rationale: "the boys are usually asleep between 9:00pm and don't get up until about 7:00am, so I'll be fine". Does that thought make her a bad, negligent person? That's for a jury to decide, but I don't think that makes her bad and negligent.

I talked to my boyfriend's mother about this issue and she stated that he was left alone at the age of seven because she left for work a half an hour before he went to school, and she got off about an hour after he got home. She quickly added that when his younger brother was born (they are about eight years apart), she didn't leave them home alone together for a long time. I think that Aundria shouldn't have left the responsibility of a four year old to a seven year old, but as I said earlier, she may have thought she was in the clear because she may have assumed she would be home before they woke up. I was left alone periodically under the age of ten; however, I was also able to cook for myself and easily keep myself occupied. When my brother was born, we had to be watched until my mother felt we would be okay with me running the house in her absence.

In the end, this is tragic to say the least. I will say that I hope they don't charge her with anything. (Yeah, I can feel the stares). She quite technically didn't break a law. In the Tri-State area, only Arkansas has a law stating that children can't be left alone under the age of ten. Unless it can be proven that Aundria broke a law by not using her better judgment in leaving her kids alone, her punishment will be the fact that her mistake cost her kids their lives. Of course, the law can't look the other way when we have lapses in judgment, but if they didn't charge the parent in 2006 for a similar incident then they shouldn't pick Ms. Jones to "be made an example of".

Oh, and I think I should share my own story. I am 25 years old. I got pregnant at 22 (which is about the same age Aundria was when she birthed her seven year old) and gave birth at 23. I was never a partier or a club hopper and honestly, I have never been to a club to this day. Whenever I wanted to go out to hang with my friends at the mall, play video games with my Godfamily, or catch a church event, Lex was in a stroller or a backpack carrier with me. There was only one place my daughter hasn't gone with me, and that was to a movie theater. If I wanted to go on a date or to a movie, I asked my mother or grandmother to babysit. If neither of them were free, I went elsewhere or sat my derriere at home with my child. I knew when I got pregnant that I would have to make changes in my life, but I wasn't going to let motherhood hold me back. My mother used to have to ask me to leave Lex with her!

I know how it is to be a young mother who wants to have fun with her friends. You know what I did on New Years Eve? I invited my closest friends to MY house for video games, fun, food and laughs. My daughter was right there in my livingroom with me until her bedtime. At midnight, my friends and I toasted to 2008.

The moral of the story is simple...when you have kids, you have to accommodate. You have to make alterations. You have to decide what is more important. I know my blog may seem light on Aundria Jones, but I have to be fair because I don't know the whole story of that night. However, I felt the need to tell my story along with this blog to show young mothers that you can still enjoy life, but you have to keep your children's well being a higher priority than the party circuit.

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