All Moms Are Fallible

12.18.09


I dropped my daughter when she was a baby, twice.
I knew my son needed medical attention, but I didn’t believe it. Twice.
My daughter has a dot tattooed on her neck, where I stabbed her with a pencil. Luckily just once, it was a crossword puzzle accident.
My kids have had enough time alone to cover themseles head to toe in lipstick, both black and red.

I’ve slept at the playground. I snore too.

I’ve had car accidents and other mishaps. I set a tree on fire once, that was not easy, but it, too was an accident.

Alexander had seven staples in his head, because we played too rough.

I’m a good mom. Kids get lumps and bumps, and we all make mistakes.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Shellie and Steve Ross lost her son Bryson due to an accident. I’d really like everyone who has kids to take a moment, be honest, really honest and show Shellie a little empathy. There’s a family that needs and deserves your kindness today.

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46 responses to “All Moms Are Fallible”

  1. We’ve all made those mistakes, and that’s all they are, Mistakes.

    We are all responsible, but we are also all human. Shelli Ross is no more responsible than if it had happened while she was cooking dinner, or going to the bathroom.

    The only way we will know for sure our kids are safe are to tie them to us and never let them go. They will also never learn to stand on their own two feet.

    The fact of the matter is, sometimes things happen accidentally…

    It’s why they’re called accidents.

  2. Kim says:

    My daughter died. It was an accident. People who don’t respect the pain that Shellie and her family are going through right now can rot in hell as far as I am concerned. I so appreciate all you have done to defend Shellie and the rest of us who could just as easily come under attack for something we can not control.
    love you Jessica.

    • lpearson says:

      Kim,

      While prayers are being shared I wanted to extend them to you. I’m so sorry for the loss of Emma. I can only imagine that the discussions of the past few days must be excrutiating for you. Thank you for your voice in them.

  3. Jen H says:

    AMEN to that, Sister! I haven’t written a blog entry in months but think I shall do something similar to this. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. brava!
    all of us moms have our moments of shame (our own). we have so much mommy-guilt that we force ourselves to should and carry. why must others (other moms, mostly) pile more onto our already heavy burdens?
    accidents do happen. which is why they are called accidents. i felt the fire and judgments of other moms years ago when my now 17 y/o daughter was struck by a 6 ton flat bed truck hauling heavy equipment as it traveled 30 mph on a street near our home. some actually went there and dared to ask me where was I when my 8 y/o, playing with her 13 y/o sister and friends dared to ignore sister’s warnings and crossed a busy street on the corner of our cul de sac. the scars that remained are almost as clear as the skid marks that truck left behind trying to avoid my daughter.
    my heart aches for the Ross Family and they have been and will continue to be in my prayers

  5. darcie says:

    This whole thing just sickens me – from what poor Shellie has been going through to what she continues to endure to the terrible terrible things that have been going around ever since.
    Regardless of what happened and what anyone believes is right or wrong – She is a mother who lost her son. Placing blame does not bring Bryson back. It will not make her heart hurt any less.
    I wish people would spend their time on something more productive – like solving world peace or hunger…instead of attacking a grieving family.

  6. CJ says:

    Bravo. It’s hard to admit we all make mistakes, but that’s what parenting is about. None of us is perfect. None of our children are unscathed when they grow up. We are people. My heart and thoughts are with the Ross family.

  7. Karie says:

    Accidents happen. We can all sit around like a bunch of perfect effing moms playing Monday Morning quarterback to the events but this does not ease Shellie’s pain nor bring her son back. Again, accidents happen, that’s why people call them accidents. Thank you Jessica for not holding back….EVER!

  8. None of us are perfect parents. It’s impossible to keep your eyes on a child 24/7. Many of us have baby-proofed our house to bare-bones, set up gates and pool fences, but none of it is 100% guaranteed to prevent an accident. We all make mistakes and the only thing that often differentiates a mistake from a tragedy is luck. Plain and simple.

    Great post, Jessica.

  9. KathyHowe says:

    I have mostly stayed out of the exchanges online regarding what happened to Shellie and her family this week. I have struggled to find words more meaningful than venomous bursts of hatred directed at Laura Madison Freed Twatface McGraw.

    This post has helped me see exactly what it is I want to say on this subject and I hope to have something posted to my own blog later today.

    I support Shellie.

    Love and peace to all.

  10. Jennifer says:

    This is a great post, Jessica. We are all human. We all make errors. Who hasn’t had their child/ren out of site for several minutes assuming they are safe. Everyone makes mistakes. Most of us are just fortunate that those mistakes don’t cost us too greatly.

    I can’t imagine feeling anything but the deepest of empathy for Shellie.

  11. Sarah says:

    Shellie knows she has my empathy, love and support.

    The reality is that accidents can happen to anyone and they happen in a blink of an eye.

    Doesn’t asstwat on twitter understand that no amount of her shit to Shellie will measure up to the amount Shellie already feels? And will feel for the rest of her life? Shellie is in her own hell, she doesn’t need the DEVIL yelling at her and going to news outlets ontop of it all

    I know asstwat doesn’t understand because she is schizo,deranged and obviously has multiple personalities…no amount of logical statements we say will change that women. I hope the police get involved with her antics.

    Thanks for all you are doing for Shellie and the rest of us MOMs, Jessica.
    Sarah

  12. Wonderful post Jessica. I can rattle off all of the heart-stopping moments in my parenthood so far where I made mistakes. Like the time I put my son down in his car seat next to the car because I couldn’t get the freaking keys in and didn’t realize I hadn’t strapped him in yet and he tumbled out after sneezing and almost got hit . . . . or the time I cam within inches of backing over him (my husband was watching him, he ran out for his mommy, I had the windows up in the car and didn’t hear my husband screaming when he fell and I couldn’t see him) . . . or the time I left them alone long enough to be covered from head to toe in pen (tattoos just like yours mama) or the time my son cut off ALL of my daughter’s hair at her request while I was washing the Thanksgiving dishes . . . or the time I was rear ended while pregnant and spent 4 days in labor with the doctor trying to re-assure me that if I deliver so early my son will be fine. Accidents happen. Often, the results are not as tragic as in Shellie’s case. But it could be any one of us. It doesn’t matter if you are a good parent, good daughter, good person. It also mostly doesn’t matter if you always wear your seat belt, or have a fire extinguisher in your house, or have a fence around your pool. Because you can do what you can to keep safe, but none of us controls what happens to us. A plane can crash. A car can hit you. Lightning does strike. And I’m not trying to be bleak but trying to recognize that life is precious and we should enjoy what we have. Those that have criticized and dumped on Shellie should be cognizant that there but for the grace of God they go.

    You can do what you can to make the world safe – wear a seat belt, use a car seat, fence your pool, etc. – but it will never be a world without accidents. And if you try to hard to protect your children from everything – you watch them like a hawk, you wrap them in a plastic bubble – they will never learn to stand on their own two feet. To pick themselves up and go on. To perservere. To be independent.

    Shellie suffered a tragic accident. My heart aches f0r Shellie and her family. In fact, it aches for many online friends that have had losses this year.

    So I will squeeze my children tighter so that they look at me with bewildered expressions. I will offer my support and prayers to Shellie and the others that have suffered loss this year.

  13. Jenn says:

    one of the most insightful things my mom ever said to me, as she was recounting the dozens of things she felt she could have done better — “I was a person before I was a mom.” when we become moms we do not stop being human.

    accidents happen.
    some of us are lucky enough to poke fun at them in hindsight (like when my son almost swallowed a business card), and fortunate enough to learn from them (one-year-old boys have some kind of magnetic hands that attract all things potentially dangerous — and i know now that business cards in all their shiny glory are one of them).

    while silver linings are nearly impossible to find in tragedies like these, i know that as moms we all hugged our children tighter, we all came together to support one of our own when she needed it most, and bryson’s memory reminds us all that life is vulnerable because we are — human. that precious little boy lives on in all of our hearts.

  14. Thank you so much for this post. It was an accident, I don’t know how many more times I can say it, repeat it, yell it til I’m blue in the face. I don’t know why “certain people” won’t back down and leave it alone… No, wait. I do know, it’s to sell books and gain notoriety in the face of someone’s grief. *puke*

  15. erin says:

    I shudder to think of some of the mistakes I’ve made as a mother that could easily have turned out sadly. I think we all do; that’s why we react so strongly to stories like these. Some of us cry and hold our little ones a little closer, others lash out and need to point fingers in order to feel better or separate themselves from such a tragedy.

  16. lpearson says:

    There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been expressed so eloquently here. But I am just so grateful to see a series of compassionate and honest comments.

    Parenting is hard work and accidents happen all the time. I still can hear my son blood curdling scream of “help, my peanut’s on fire” when my extra large scalding coffee tipped over in his lap. It was a terrifying first visit to the emergency room (his peanut’s just fine, btw).
    I sat 10 inches from a pool with another grownup chatting while my two kids swam with their dad and my mom. There were 4 adults and 3 kids all within inches of each other. My girl slipped off her noodle and was headed to the bottom of the pool when my friend noticed and we were able to pull her out in time. Four stone cold sober adults both watching and swimming with the kids and a horrific accident almost occurred.

    I relive these and other calamities in my head all the time. And they all worked out.
    Parenting is scary business and anyone who has experienced loss should receive nothing but compassion, respect and love.

    Thank you for posting and thank you for working vigilantly to get another mom the grace she deserves.

  17. trisha says:

    I make a mistake once a day. It could have easily been me as it was her. I pray for her families peace. She is in my heart. As a friend, a mother, and a blogger.

    trisha

  18. Well said Jessica. Well said.

  19. Theresa says:

    Confession time. Just today I lost my daughter in an Elevator! She rode the Elevator 9 stories up and 9 stories down at the Palace hotel here in San Fran. I stepped out of th elevator before she did and she was being silly. The door closed and my just turned 3 year old disappeared into the old elevator. I could hear her cry all 9 stories up and 9 stories down. I panicked when the elevator stopped on level 4 and just sat there! Finally after what felt like an hour the doors opened again and there was my hyperventilating toddler. The poor man who rode down with her must have thought I was crazy!

    So much could have happened in those 3 minutes, but it didn’t. Accidents happen all the time!

  20. Well said. Any mom who hasn’t made a mistake with her kid is either A.) in SERIOUS denial or B.) just finished delivering that kid!

  21. Colleen says:

    Thanks for expressing so well what many moms are feeling. Prayers for peace and consolation.

  22. My heart aches for her. Maybe I am too emotional, but I sobbed when I heard of her loss. I cannot fathom (and hope to never experience) the extreme pain, grief and hurt she feels and will forever feel. I held my baby boy even closer than I usually do after reading about that accident. Oh, it is just awful how people can be so very cruel to her. Kicking her when she is down.. down so low, probably the lowest she will ever be. It makes me physically nauseous thinking about it.

    The grief associated with her loss will forever cloud her days, but my prayer for her is that she will let the sunshine in again someday, in time.

    Thank you for your candidness Jessica. You always seem to say what I wish I had the balls to write. Happy last night of Chanukah, by the way.

  23. Amen. Amen. Amen. Thank you for this – everyone could use a friend like you.

  24. Kim says:

    Perfecto. Well said.

  25. Miss Blondie says:

    Amen!! Accidents happen to all of us, that’s why they’re accidents. My heart goes out to Shellie and her family and as for “everybody” else…well they can SUCK it!

  26. Holly says:

    Jessica, thank you for this blog post. Life can be so fragile. You can turn your head for a second and something can happen. There but for the Grace of God go any of us.

    I don’t know any of the details, so what I am about to say is not directed at Shellie, other than to say that my thoughts and prayers are with your family and I hope you are able to heal.

    For everyone else reading, please, please, please – if you have a pool, or live somewhere warm, teach your babies and toddlers to swim. This was a drowning accident in a family swimming pool. This is so sad and far too common in states with warm climates. Most states have laws that allow a pool to have the back wall of the house as the fourth wall of a fence. This protects people outside the property, but it does not protect any children or pets inside the house. There are sonar alarms that can activate when a child or pet is in the pool (but you have to remember to turn them on and hope they’re working right.) There are safety fences that can be placed outside of pools. There are swimming programs that teach infants to swim, and to float on their back when they accidentally get into the water. We participated in one when our oldest was about 6 months old, and her final exam was to swim while fully dressed. We did the Infant Swim Research program for lessons. Contrary to popular belief, babies are not born knowing how to swim, and they will sink.

    Jessica, thank you for lending your voice and your clout to support a mom in the face of tragedy and public scrutiny. It really could have been anyone in her place.

  27. Great post. My daughter got out of the house while I was sleeping (she was supposed to be asleep too). She got into the street, even though we have locked gates and deadbolts on all the doors. She was 3 1/2. It was the scare of my life. Thank GOD she was OK. It could have been so much worse. Accidents happen. Mistakes happen.

    No one is perfect. NO ONE.

    All those self-righteous, self-promoting, black hearted attention whores with no common decency piss me off.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    And for the record, some of us refer to Madison-Laura-Whats-her-face as THUNDERCUNT. I think it is quite fitting. A vile word for a vile person who wants to gain fame on the back of a grieving mother.

    I have even heard some people say that Shellie killed precious Bryson for insurance money. One person even outright called her a murderer! The amount of venomous hatred spewed from these people who call themselves human is reprehensible.

    There is a special level of hell just for those fucktards.

    I do wonder how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot. It could have been any one of them…or us. None of us is beyond reproach.

  28. Carole Hicks says:

    Well said Jessica. You brought to mind the time when my very first baby (I’ve had only two) and I were playing “catch me if you can”…her Daddy (my then husband) had gone on his first business trip and it was the first time I was home all alone with my baby who had just begun walking which quickly turned into a run. We were playing chase and I was running after her. She looked over her shoulder to see how close I was and didn’t look and before I could grab her she ran head on into a wall corner jutting out that was reinforced with steel. She ran into it HARD. It split her forehead open. Blood was literally leaping forth and drenching the floor. It wasn’t dripping. It was jumping out. I called 911 immediately, of course and within minutes (or less?) my home was filled with both the police department AND the fire department AND paramedics. (I prolly sounded pretty dramatic on the phone…um hysterical). Anyhoo…she is 18 years old now and she didn’t die…but she has an adorable scar. Accidents happen, no matter how excellent our Mom-in is. My heart aches for Shellie and her family.

  29. Bobbie says:

    Jessica, Thank you for the brutality honest post! We’ve all had accidents in our home no matter how safe we TRY to make things. One of the most severe accidents my daughter had at 9 months old, I was sitting right next to her while she was in the tub and she kicked her foot and fell backwards biting threw her tongue. It required a trip to the ER and several follow up visits and special bottles to eat. And I was less then a half and arm away from her!! It was an accident I will never forget though. The fact is these things happen. My heart goes out to Shellie & her family. I can’t imagine the pain they are feeling and to have to deal with someone that is attacking them for their loss on top of it is just nasty. I pray they can find peace and time to grieve the way they should. Thank you for your amazing eye opening post!

  30. Trish says:

    I agree .In my 15.5 yrs as a parent I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I was just thinking about this, who can throw the first stone … as the previous person said.

    What parent hasn’t done something they wish they hadn’t and their child has been injured or thnak fully NOT.

    My 2.5 yr twins were down the front of my street (we live in a battleaxe with a long driveway, on a busy road where school buses go up and down) …the time before a stranger stopped her car, got her kid out of her car seat and was walking them up the driveway. I was bith thankful & embarassed.

    It was me one time too busy & distracted, another my older teenage son who left the gate unlocked and took them less than a minute to get away.

    I pray for her families peace and strength for her to get through this, sanity intact.

  31. Loukia says:

    Some people are evil. I feel terrible that anyone uttered a bad word to that poor, heartbroken mother. Unreal how mean some lost souls are. Life is so unfair, and my heart bleeds for that mom, and every mom out there who has lost a child. That’s not normal. I couldn’t deal, never ever. My life would be over. I’m very overprotective of my boys, VERY and I’m always worried and fearful, but at the same time, Lord knows I’ve made many mistakes! I’ve also dropped my baby, he’s fallen MANY times, they’ve played with dangerous things, etc. We are not perfect. Accidents happen. Also, did you know they call drowning the silent killer? That’s why so many children die in pools – it’s virtually SILENT so you can’t here a thing, and by the time you realize it, it’s likely to late to save a life. Great post, Jessica, thank you.

  32. Maria says:

    A friend said to me that it almost seems like the trolls and bitches like to point fingers at Shellie (and others) as if it’s some kind of magical charm against the same thing happening to them. I think in many ways that’s true. And I think it fosters a frightening sense of false security.

    We should all be thankful, every day.

    Good post.

  33. Nap Warden says:

    You said EXACTLY what I’ve been thinking…Well said.

  34. You continue to blow me away, and as both a mother and woman, I am grateful that you are on “my team.” Don’t stop…

  35. No need for me to post on this now except to link here as this is what’s been going on in my mind the last day or so. We simply cannot keep an eye on our children every single minute of the day.

    Every parent has had their share of imperfect moments and of accidents. Most moms I know have moments they in which we replay in our minds, not merely what happened, but the horrible thing that might have taken place had we not been so fortunate.

    I also understand and defend Shellie’s tweeting. Makes perfect sense to me to reach out to the community.

    Thanks for this post.

  36. Emily says:

    This post gives great pause for thought and compassion. I nearly tripped down the stairs with my baby in hand the other day. Whenever I hear about a backyard pool drowning I am quick to judge the parents’ supervision or safety of fencing but as I come to learn more and more each day I am a parent, things happen and often in a split second. I am going to be less judgemental.

  37. […] said, written and tweeted this week over the sad, sad tragic accident that befell another mother. She is a mother just like us all. This week she lived through probably the most horrific of tragedies that any mother could ever […]

  38. Bridget says:

    I haven’t commented here before, but I think this is the perfect time to start. Well done, Jessica! None of us ever have our eyes on our kids 24/7. Things happen. I hate that the end result was so traumatic for Shellie and her family. But we’re all just a blink away from the same thing happening to us. What I also hate is the persecution this poor woman has been subject to. That is our fault(the collective twitterverse)…and we should be ashamed.

  39. Candace says:

    Thank you. I watch my children like hawks and I practice attachment parenting. And yet, they’ve had accidents. And near misses. Some of which I contributed to out of forgetfulness–like the time I forgot to close the basement door and looked over to see my infant son right at the top of the stairs.

    Thank God he listened when I told him not to move as I cautiously approached and scooped him up and closed the door.

    To viciously attack a mother in the moment of her grief, and play armchair detective based on scant evidence, is the lowest of low. And the media seems to play into this helicopter or negligent dichotomy. How sad.

    My heart goes out to Shellie and her family.

  40. Kim says:

    I just want to say that I am a reporter/writer and I am appalled by some of what I’ve read about this family. We’re not all cretins, but I know there are those among us who are. I’m sorry about that – and I’m so sorry for this family’s loss.

  41. Susan @ 2KoP says:

    I’m not an overtly religious person, but somehow I keep hearing things in my mind like: “Judge not lest ye be judged,” and “There but for the grace of G-d go I.” Maybe these are just good literary quotes that fit the situation. All I know is that I have been more than lucky more than once that my kids have survived.

  42. Jonnyd523 says:

    Hmmm…guess it wasn’t an accident or at least not so according to the Brevard County Prosecutors Office or Brevard County Detectives.  Maybe you folks strung the rope around the wrong tree, everyone was a bit hasty to condemn those that said something didn’t seem right.  In the end, it’s the truth that shall set you free and in time, that truth will inevitably find it’s way out.  When you’re joining a lynch mob, try and make sure you have all the facts. 

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