I am a good mom. Yes, I am a very organized, nurturing, educated and amazing mom actually. No matter what they say and how my actions were on that day, I am a good mom to Emily and Brody, I have always been and will be.

It’s all going to be OK, I am home now, nobody can take that away from me. Emily’s bed feels soft just like how her room feels so beautiful even in this non-existent moonlight. I wish mom had made a room like this for me when I was a child. I want to feel my baby girl’s little fingers, her arms, and her fluffy cheeks next to my face, I want to smell her. It has been way too long since I held her, my arms feel tired and heavy thinking of how much I miss her.

Will I ever be able to tell Brody what happened that afternoon 6 weeks ago? He is almost 6, he might understand how I forgot dropping off Emily at the day care that day. But Alan and I will not likely talk about it, EVER, just like how we never tell our kids what a wonderful night of s*x we had while they were lying in the next room just a few feet from us. Is it a crime to tell your kids what excites you and how you have many many many short comings?

No and yes, but the topic of forgetfulness will prevail. Because, I FORGOT.

“How did you forget?? How can a mom forget her daughter for 5 hours?? You should hang yourself!! There, you look at the toilet in that corner, sink your face into it and don’t even surface, you M*****f*****!!! Your daughter sat in the hot car until noon while you went about your business of taking care of sick children and nurturing many more who just came into this world. She probably just got out of her coma long enough to have a heart attack and die. Animals are treated better in America, you b*tch! It must have all started out with a drop of sweat on her brow.” 

It’s amazing how I survived prison for 6 weeks let alone for that first night. This time in my life – it’s a strange time.. Arrest, interrogation, booking, probable cause hearing, charges filed, charges dropped.. Ironical, Nancy Grace features me as a pathetic self-centered mom but not as a leading expert in the field of child trauma – Huh, talk about fall from GRACE.

“The odds are in your favor Suneeta, let me tell you. The court of public opinion can be spun completely in that direction. 39 years old female, Indian American, a Quillen alum, a successful pediatrician, born to immigrant parents… Yours is a story that is made for the history books.. And, still, you are human! A judge will be able to appreciate that. Forgive me if I sound like I am making light of the situation but you are quite the looker and that doesn’t hurt”.

She had winked. The audacity in her thoughts!! Nina Abbas – From Bird and Abbas law.. – She should have a tag line, selling crime as criminal negligence.. Ahh, but, hasn’t America always had its foundations planted firmly on sales’ strategies??

Talking about crime, Alan should also take the blame, shouldn’t he? It’s 50% his fault too after all, leaving for an unplanned business trip with an evening’s notice and leaving me to bungle up my schedule and my monotony.. This idea of dividing daily parenting duties is a bunch of bull crap. Men have a lot of pent up emotional issues, isn’t that what they say to get away with everything? If the women are irrational and distant, we are PMSing, and if the men appear nonchalant, that’s because they are putting up a brave face.

Such is life, full of contradictions and ironies.. Mine will make for a good O Henry’s story.

At least, that morning on my way to the hospital, if he had picked up my wake up call, we would have talked about how the kids were doing.. If only I was not preoccupied with trying to reach him and paid attention to her coos from the back seat.. If only I looked up once in the rear view mirror like how he tells me to once in a while, I would have seen her tiny feet kicking air in the back seat……

I want to get some sleep, I need some sleep. After all, I know first-hand all that can go wrong when one doesn’t get enough sleep.

Emily kept tossing and turning and tugging at my hair with one hand and sucking at her other thumb the night before.. How sweet were her words, she was so funny fake burping into my belly button and giggling even at 2am wide awake like a hawk.. We giggled so much I told her my head hurts..

Mamma, your head hurts, head hurts?? She repeated.. Brody looked so amused – I couldn’t tell what amused him more, hanging out with his sister and mom on mom’s bed or just wondering how silly his little sister was. He even named his sister, Mama Hair Goat – because she would always reach for my hair and chew on it.. It was all good that night until the next morning, no actually until the next noon..

“You left your daughter in the car! …………………………………”

That day I could not hear much of what Josh said after that.. But, I can play this over and over again in my head without interruption now.. Nancy came charging into the nurses’ station and almost knocked me to the floor. Actually, when I saw her face turn so red, I thought she was having a heart attack.

“……………………………How could you, what kind of a mom are you? What is wrong with you Suneeta? She is soaking wet and she looks like a doll! The police are on their way!“

I screamed until I lost my voice.

Officer, officer, officccccccccccceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrr, is my daughter OK?! Is she breathing???”

Interesting what that female cop said to me – stop screaming or I will have to pepper spray you. Wasn’t she supposed to be understanding of a fellow mother’s feelings? Is she a mother, she looked old, she could be a lonely sick perv with no living relatives. Who knows?

The last time I saw Emily she was on that blue stretcher. She looked so pale in that hot parking lot. All I could think of was that comment from the anonymous user who posted that amazing quote on a news post.. Gems of literary scripts found even in such places as the internet.. On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%.. and that’s pretty good.

Why did I crack open my window that morning, I still can’t seem to remember? That same window that inspired me to write a song for the gang about enjoying Girls night outs while driving to Eclipse De Luna..?

Dreams of laughter and gossip in the days before..
One less shift of diaper duty on this day..
Promises to yourself that you are not selfish..
Rolling down the window to feel the freedom in the ‘h’air ..
A nervous text to check on their welfare..
Celebrate woman, the world is a better place because of what you have created..
Celebrate what is this moms night out! ..!

What poetic nonsense..

 “In our opening statement for the probable cause hearing, the office of the DA would like to advice the judge that the window next to Emily was cracked open just slightly. Just enough to let air inside for the girl to breath. This shows intent on behalf of Mrs. Carter that she meant to leave that child in the car that day.”

That is the farce about life, everyone has an opinion if it not his f*cking life that is hanging in the balance.

Even the hyperthermia expert during the witness deposition had his OPINION. Wasn’t he the same Sam Pate, the back bencher at school? Did Sam recognize me, did he feel empathy for me, did he secretly believe that I had made an honest mistake all while reading his opinion OUT LOUD.

No wonder people move far far away from the community they grow up in, heck, people move continents. Lindsay Lohan is moving to England because the US has become too gossipy! Jesus Christ!

“With the outside temperature being 70 degrees to begin with in the morning and to reach 82 around noon, the car would have reached temperatures of 125 degrees. When the child’s inner core temperature of 107 is reached, which for children it just needs a very few minutes to get to that, the heat destroys enzymes and proteins in the brain, the body then goes into coma and death follows very quickly UNLESS there is a quick intervention, with one organ shutting down after an other.”

I should have asked somebody to light me on fire for having to listen to that.

“Emily, honey, do you know what my nana would give me during my holidays when I would visit her every summer in India? Buttermilk, lots of it, you need to have some to bring your core body temperature down. How else can you keep playing and beat Brody at everything?”

Who would believe me if I told them that this is how I cared for and raised my kids… ? All they will now remember is how I turned Emily into a poster child for children left alone in hot cars by distracted parents..

“The medical OPINION concludes as follows.
Emily Radha Carter, aged 19 months, suffered from acute hyperthermia with no visible outside trauma.
1. Linear pattern of contusions of right cerebral hemisphere.
2. Small contusions and subdural hemorrhage.
3. Abrasion of left cheek.
4. Contusions on posterior right shoulder.”

Her head must have hurt a lot from all the bruising, her head banging against the car seat to get herself out of there.. This stuff should belong in nightmares..

“As the Chief EMS officer on duty that day, I have seen first-hand the trauma experienced by the first responders and the hospital staff that were attending to the child. Immediately upon being administered CPR and upon revival, the child was observed as having extremely tight clenched fists and was seen crying in shrieks and fits on the shoulders of a hospital EMT personnel. Many of the officers on duty and were part of the incident have signed up to receive counseling. This scene of chaos caused severe anxiety for all involved.”

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