since I figured I would get flamed. But maybe it will make someone else think, so that would be worth it.
Dh and I were out of town with the kids for the weekend. Today before heading home, we stopped to do some shopping. I went into a home decor store, while dh stayed out in the van with the kids. I found some stuff for the house, but wanted dh to see it before I bought anything, so I went over the window (he was parked right in front of the store) and motioned him inside. He came inside, saw the items I wanted him to see, and then I asked him to look around a little bit to see if there was anything else he saw. He was in the store for maybe ten minutes, tops.
One of the things we bought was an area rug, so he took that out to the van while I paid and finished up inside. As I left the store, I saw a police car parked next to our van, and two officers talking to dh.
Apparently whoever was parked beside our van noticed when they were getting in their vehicle that the kids were in it alone. The police officers were at a nearby restaurant, so the people drove over and told them.
I swear they were doing the "good cop, bad cop" routine -- one was (IMO) really rude. He made a huge deal of the fact that there were four kids in the van (I'm not trying to make light of it, but would it really have made a difference if there were only one or two?) Then he gave us (well, me) a huge lecture about how some crackhead could smash the window and just take off with our kids and we would never see them again...
But he's right. And I feel like shit.
I have never been so scared in my life -- I was terrified I was going to lose my children. And over something so stupid. I could have stayed at the van while dh went in. We could (in theory) have all gone in -- it would likely have resulted in some "you broke it, you buy it" purchases, but we could have done that. So many other options, but this one was the most convenient for us -- dh and me.
Now comes the hard part... admitting that I have left my kids alone in the van before. Lots. When I drop dd#2 off at school, the younger ones stay in the van. No more. My convenience is NOTHING compared to my children.
Oh, God, please, don't flame me. I'm sure some of you want to, but really -- I don't think I can take it.
: Just learn from my lesson, and never ever leave your children in a vehicle.
I know I won't, ever again. I am just grateful beyond grateful that I didn't learn this lesson a harder way.