There Might Be a Story There

There might be a story there.

Have you ever witnessed a parent who forbid their child to do something that yourself wouldn’t think twice about letting your own child do? You find yourself wondering why that parent is being so strict.

There might be a story there.

I consider myself a laid-back parent as to what I let my children do. I want them to experience life, take risks and feel free and unrestricted to a certain extent. There is one thing however that I do not let my children do.

It’s because there is a story there.

When I was in 3rd grade, there was a boy in my class that I was good friends with. We sat next to each other and would giggle and laugh during our lessons. He was part of our group that played tag at recess. He was sweet and nice to all of the girls.

One day he didn’t show up for school.

The teacher sat us all down and explained that he had died.

She told us that the boy had been eating a hard candy called Lemon Drops. He had tilted his head back and tossed one in the air in the attempt to catch it. He did catch it but it got stuck in his windpipe. His Mom was sitting right next to him and witnessed this. She was a nurse and immediately began doing the Heimlich maneuver and other things to dislodge the Lemon Drop. She did not succeed.

Two girls and I sang at his funeral. It was the first funeral I ever attended. It was the first death I ever experienced. It was something very confusing to me and I remember holding out hope that he would come back. I didn’t understand the finality of it all.

That story has stayed with me forever.

It became even more profound when I had children of my own.

People have offered my children pieces of hard candy and I have politely declined on their behalf. My children have asked for hard candy and I have told them no. I go through their Halloween bags every year and remove it.

I do this because there is a story there.


Don't worry, my kids still get plenty of sweets!

Don’t worry, my kids still get plenty of sweets!

45 responses

  1. Your story is a well told one Mel and you like many others have learnt that there are some things in life that cannot be taken too lightly. When I was small I swallowed a large Marble.. a gobstopper size but not a lolly (sweet), a woman minding me at the time, performed the H. manoeuvre and I was fortunate to still be here today.

    • Oh wow, I bet that had to be a traumatic experience for both you and your babysitter. Thank goodness she was able to get it out! I won’t even ask why you were trying to eat a marble….I understand the thinking of kids all too well!

    • You’re very right Sheri! Sometimes those things that you personally experience or know from others experiences can really shape you. Sometimes its for the good and sometimes for the bad but none the less it can certainly affect how you may parent or guide your own children.

  2. Thanks Melissa for sharing this lesson of seriousness.I personally don’t even encourage children playing while they eat or drink anything. When it is time to eat, it is that time, and the same goes for work, and play. Be Blessed, Mtetar

  3. That is such a sad story, but one well worth telling. I was thinking about the word vigilance this morning and you are an example of being vigilant with your children. Good for you and may you be a good example for others.

    • I really wasn’t trying to discourage people from giving their kids hard candy. Lord knows we have enough stuff already to worry about with our kids. It was more about the message about why people do the things they do. There may be a bigger meaning behind than what we can see on the surface. I’m sure everyone has a personal story similar to this in ways that affects how they parent or do things! I hope I didn’t scare the wits out of you now!

  4. Oh wow-I don’t let my kids have hard candy anyway, because athough I am a trained responder it just makes me so nervous! What a heartbreaking thing to have happen to that poor family! 😦 You’re right, there may be a story-people don’t always understand that!

    I twittered you but I don’t know how much you get on there (I only do a couple of times a day real quick). I awarded you with the Beautiful Mama Blog Award. It’s very pretty, and I had to give something that pretty to all my favorite mama bloggers! 😀

    • Thank you so much Sarah! I really appreciate it! I’ll get over to it in a bit! The kids are home this week for Spring Break, I am trying to clean up the mess still from Easter dinner, do laundry and Iris is sick…it is going to be crazy busy in these parts!!

  5. Okay, now I’m more scared of hard candy than I already was! This is a good reminder not to judge why others are stricter about odd & random things, because there usually is some reason or story behind it. My husband is a firefighter/paramedic, so he is compulsive about alot of safety things many people wouldn’t even think about. He’s the one who has to try to rescucitate the 3 year old left unattended in a kiddie pool, see the remains of the baby thrown from an improperly installed carseat or other results of unsafe decisions by parents.

    • I’m sorry Keisha, I didn’t mean to scare anybody about hard candy so much as about the message about not judging others parenting. With your husband being a firefighter/paramedic and seeing and hearing so many stories I can completely understand why he would be compulsive about safety issues. When you experience those things first hand, they really stick with you!

  6. Heartbreaking doesn’t quite cover this. How valuable this is to know. (I know you weren’t warning specifically about hard candy.) Sometimes when there is something we don’t understand….it’s because we don’t know. Good lesson.

    I’m sorry for that family’s loss. I don’t care how long ago it was. My grandparents lost a child to a horrible accident. They cried about until the passed and he went ahead of them by over fifty years.

    • Those kind of things really do stay with you until your dying day I’m sure. I ran into the boy’s Mom a few years ago and when I explained who I was because she didn’t recognize me, she was very shaken up as we talked about it. Such an unfortunate accident.

  7. what a sad story, poor kid! but I understand you, many times I react to things differently than other parents because of previous experiences “might be a story there” and we don’t want anything bad to happen to our kids.

    • Yes, that is exactly what I mean Ingrid. And of course no one wants anything bad to happen to their child but some may be more overprotective than others because of something that has happened to them.

    • Yes, that is so true. And when I thought about it, it made me realize how other people’s stories must affect them and what they may not let their own children do because of things they have experienced.

  8. Ohmygoodness. What a TERRIBLE ordeal for his poor mother. Ugh, my heart is just aching. This is a great lesson about hard candy, but also a gentle reminder for parents not to judge one another’s decisions and parenting styles.

    • Yes, it really was a tragic incident. I don’t know if anyone has ever judged me for not giving my kids hard candy but I’m sure there are many moms who have been judged for doing things or not doing things and it’s good to keep in mind that they may have a life altering experience in their past.

  9. Oh, how horrible…I can’t even begin to imagine! And for you too, waiting for him to come back. You do what you have to for your children’s safety and don’t worry what anyone else thinks.

  10. That is so incredibly heartbreaking. I can understand how that would stay with you, and inform your choices about what to give your kids. Honestly, I’ve had a few close calls with hard candy so I believe it’s really not worth the trouble. Especially when you’re dealing with those three cuties pictures above. 🙂

  11. Gees, Melissa, that is unbelievably sad! I’m sorry for your loss and for the confusion you must have felt as a third grade child. Thanks for sharing this life lesson. Next Halloween, I’ll be on the lookout for hard candy as well!

  12. What a heart-breaking story. I am totally with you on the whole hard candy thing. When I was a kid, I remember choking on–you’ll never believe this–a lemon-flavoured hard candy. Thankfully, my dad was handy with the Heimlich and it flew across the lawn. (This was after my bout with meningitis and before my very near drowning. I had an exciting childhood). The other food that terrifies me is popcorn.

  13. I think that all the time. For one, they could just be having a bad day and the kids weren’t listening and that is the story, or the kids can’t handle leaving the park or having sugar or whatever. You never know why parents appear to be strict. But you’re right. There’s often a story and I try to remind myself. Such a sad story about that little boy and the stories that stay with us.

    • I know I have found myself wondering why parents don’t let their kids do certain things like climb a tree for example but if you had a personal experience of knowing someone who fell out of a tree I’m sure it would make a lasting impression with you and in turn see what could be a seemingly innocent act as something very dangerous. Everyone is just trying to raise their kids the best way they can. Thanks for stopping by!!

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