Short answer - because I'm a dad. My wife's posting tonight describes it better than I can. Both of us posted yesterday about how we stepped up to stop a drunk driver - which required leaving our kids to witness the scary scene alone - to which one Mothering Magazine reader commented:
“Yeah, you did have a choice. You could have called the police. Clearly you could have gotten security if they got there so quickly What on earth were you thinking? This was terrible modeling for your children! To me this is the anti-mama bear, you chose to act in a way that traumatized your children!"
Sarah has already, as always, posted a beautiful response about universal maternal love. Being her loving husband, I always have a bit more to say, so here it is:
1. I'm amused that no-one wrote the response to me. Is it societally OK for Dad to abandon the wee ones to play superhero, but not mom? Would she chastise Arnold for leaving his kindergarten class to go stop the bad guys in Kindergarten Cop?
2. The "call the police and stay out of it" response is a pretty normal cop out (forgive the pun). Kinda like Grandma telling me to move home from Africa, get a real job and send money to Peace Corps to go do that development stuff (um, grandma, Peace Corps are just college grads just like me - someone else's grandkids.) This was a rare opportunity where there was no doubt about the need for intervention, no significant danger to taking action, and direct and immediate action was the only option - by the time we'd spoken to the 911 operator that driver would have already been on the road and we would have all just been praying that the police would catch her in time.
Yes the police are thankfully there for our protection, and in a more dangerous situation perhaps would have been the only option. But we Canadians especially have become so dependent on the police, the government, the experts, care homes, even the non-profit community, that it's become too easy to abdicate our civic duties. We teach and model for our children to "do the right thing," and sometimes that means doing it ourselves, not calling in someone else's parents or grandkids to take care of it for us.
3. That care-for-the-world heart-expansion that comes with parenting, which Sarah paints so beautifully, isn't just for moms. I hated Home Alone, and especially that child brat star, every time I saw it (video selections are limited at the African pastor's house where I lived then). Then years later, while we were pregnant with our first child in Texas, I suffered through another horrible Macaulay Culkin waste-of-2-hours-movie - My Girl. But when he died at the end of the movie I started crying. A child had just died, and I was a parent (to be) of a child, and John Donne's bell tolled and GONG!!! I was a parent. Part of the universal community of moms and dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles who care for and about the children of our world, and that love and care is so powerful that it gushes over the feeble white-picket boundaries of our little nuclear families.
When we left our children "home alone" to watch us struggle with that drunk woman, we weren't abandoning them. We were directly and actively caring for them and for all children. Yes it was a trauma for them, yes I wish it hadn't happened, and yes I wish that the police or security or another onlooker could have been there and allowed at least one of us to stay with the children. But not for a moment, then nor now, have I doubted that we were right in taking action.