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McMahon: Zipporah Farewell

I forget things all the time. And no — it’s not a sign of advanced age. Like so many of you, I forget little things: my car keys, my cell phone, some people’s names, an occasional movie title, stuff like that. But in my whole life as a parent, I’ve never forgotten a baby.

As you must know by now, Zipporah Johnson was mistakenly left in the back seat of the family car after church services Sunday afternoon and died from heat trauma at the age of 21 months. At 21 months, you don’t know about death.

You know how much fun it is to run away from grown-ups and that it hurts when you fall. You know how fast the hurt goes away when your mommy does ouchie hugs. At 21 months, you know how good an ice-cold orange popsicle tastes. But nobody could ever have told you what 150 degrees feels like in a closed automobile.

I’m not trying to punish Zipporah’s family by saying all these things. I’m simply trying my best to remind everyone to use a checklist. Whether it’s my friend Dan Harkins and his dog or you and the people you’re responsible for in a car or in a store or in a pool. Count your babies — and then count your blessings.