It has been one week today since the disappearance of Little Madeleine McCann in the Algarve. I am sure there has been not one person who hasn't felt sick to the core at the pictures of the beautiful blonde haired girl. Looking at our own children sleeping safely in their beds, we are frightened both for Madeleine AND our own children. It would be condescending of me to say that only parents must feel this through to their bones, but I am sure I am not alone in seeing elements of this child in my own daughter, only months younger than Madeleine.
I must pass comment though on the amount of disgust I have felt over the judgementalism of people, letters in the paper, on internet forums who, all of a sudden, feel it is their place and right to verbalise their abhorrence with the fact that the child, along with her siblings, was left on her own in a hotel room whilst her parents dined elsewhere.
First of all, on whatever scale this sits, there are people out there, who, on a daily basis, take risks, many of which involve children and some of which end disastarously. Take people who jump in a car with their kids and choose to take a phone call whilst driving, people who misjudge the speed of other drivers or their ability to get out of a junction/overtake etc, people who leave the front door open to bring stuff in from the car with their toddler wandering onto the street or engage in a conversation with a friend whilst their toddler wanders off or onto a busy road. People who choose to risk having a drink and getting in a car, people who allow their kids to walk home from somewhere on their own (however old and whatever time of day), parents who allow their kids to go on camping trips away from home, parents who allow their toddlers to walk holding the hand of a parent rather than strapped in a stroller or attached to reins......all of these activities have varying degrees of risk about them and we choose to or not to take them.
However we feel internally about this situation, however we feel we might have done different (but who is to say that this prevents a situation?), whatever different parenting choices we make from each other, now is not the time or the place to start casting aspersions. The real guilty person is the person who took the child.
Put energy into willing Maddy to be found safe and alive and well. When that happens, then.....well, you are free to pass judgement, but until that day, just imagine the living hell that Kate and Gerry McCann, two doctors - (yes, don't tell me that doesnt' cross your mind either - how does this kind of thing happen to people like that. ) are going through on a daily basis.
My heart goes out to that poor family and to baby Madeleine, for that is all she is. Please, please let her be found safe and well.