When I Poisoned my Son and Learnt a Lesson in Forgiveness

05/09/2016 01:46 pm ET Updated May 05, 2017

On our trip to Sri Lanka a couple of months ago my son discovered the joys of warm gooey bread and butter pudding and when we came back he asked me to make him some. My son has always had a sweet tooth and enjoys his desserts more than his main course.

Given it was way overdue, after his thirteenth birthday I finally relented and gave him the task to search up a couple of recipes on the internet and thought that would keep him busy for sometime. How wrong I was. He was back into my room within five minutes with a dozen different options ranging from watching it on Youtube or downloading a pdf version or reading it online. I went through them all and picked the one I thought was the simplest, matched the ingredients I already had and we both proceeded to the kitchen.

He helped measure the ingredients while I assembled it and then into the oven it went. A half hour later when it came out it had risen and browned like a cookbook cover - picture perfect. I was pleased at my first attempt. I then proceeded to make custard that was needed to top up the pudding.

So dessert was ready before the main course.

I had invited my neighbour over to teach me a new dish that I proceeded to learn and get ready for dinner. At this point I have to mention that as an Indian family of four with quite simple tastes we do cook fresh meals three times a day so the kitchen is an integral part of our lives!

Anyways, we all sat down and relished the yum pie that I had learnt and we all proceeded to devour it. After a very satisfying main course the only way we could end it would be to have a bite or more of the warm bread and butter pudding. To be honest the first attempt was good but a bit dry and more custard had to be poured over it to make it moist and palatable. So we ended the evening on a sweet and high note.

The next morning being the weekend my son while waiting for a late lunch pulled the pudding and the custard out from the refrigerator, heated the custard poured it over the pudding and had some more. We had a late lunch and followed it with the customary snooze.

We all forgot about putting the custard back into the refrigerator. It stayed out on the kitchen stove from that afternoon through the night till the next morning getting impacted by the warmer temperature that had set in over the last couple of days. The custard sauce was made from fresh milk and it could not withstand the warmth of the kitchen.

When I woke up and asked him what he wanted to have for breakfast, no prizes for guessing what he asked for. I pulled the pudding out from the refrigerator and then realized the custard had been sitting out since yesterday afternoon.

My intuition questioned whether the custard would still be ok to eat...I proceeded to heat it on the stove and it did not curdle so I happily but with a little nagging voice proceeded to pour it over the bread pudding. He devoured it innocently.

We had to head out to buy my son new shoes and along the way in the car he asked for mint. My antennas shot up - when I asked him why he said he was feeling queasy. To sum it up without grossing you out - we had to make many stops while taking a u-turn back home and he (thankfully) threw up the retched custard and bread pudding. He spent the next three hours throwing up every morsel that had entered his body and fell off to sleep exhausted.

I sat by his bedside watching him breathe and cursed myself for being lazy. It would have taken me less than a couple of minutes to make fresh custard. When the doubt had cropped up in my mind why did I not stop and think. Why did I rush into serving it to him despite the nagging voice?

It was obvious to me that I was a lazy mother. I obviously was not caring. And definitely did not deserve to be a mother. I was mean. I was horrible. I was stupid. I was careless. I was selfish.

For heaven's sake I had poisoned my own son!!

I had owned up to both my husband and son in the car that it must have been the custard. I came home and when my daughter questioned why we had come back so soon and saw him retching I had owned up to her too. No one said anything to me.

So I called my mom back home and she admonished me and asked me how I could think of serving a milk product lying outside for almost 24 hours. She had the right tone of voice - questioning my careless...that felt better. Someone was telling me off. I hugged by sleeping baby and whispered I am sorry and he just hugged me back. Tears rolled down my cheeks wetting his pillow.

For heaven's sake I had poisoned my own son!!

He felt better by evening (thank God) and regained his appetite substantially. I told him gran had told me off - he replied its ok Mumma. But how could I make him understand that it was NOT ok.

Mothers are not allowed to be careless and lazy. And I was exactly that.

For heaven's sake I had poisoned my own son!!

I went to pick him up from school the following day and on the way back was concerned how he was feeling throughout the day given the incidents of the previous day. He nonchalantly replied he was absolutely fine.

I said - 'Sweet heart I am so sorry for being so careless yesterday it was all my fault that you were so terribly sick."

He replied - "Its ok Mumma, it happens. Its life." (verbatim)

So easily, so readily, so generously he taught me a lesson in forgiveness. Not so much in forgiving others, because in his eyes I had not done much wrong. But he taught me a lesson in forgiving myself. If you are a mother you will understand, it can be one of the toughest things to do.