Lost and Found
We are leaving for vacation at the end of this week. We are flying with the kids (pray for us – or should I say, pray that you are not on our flight) to Florida for twelve blissful days in the sun. Oh, and visit Nick’s parents as well. Last year when we visited, every night while I was putting the kids to bed, my father-in-law would pour me a perfectly chilled glass of wine and have it waiting by my favorite place to sit when I got back. A mommy friend of mine equated it to visiting a resort with staff.
Seriously, look at this view of the sunset from the patio.
As excited as I am to blow this popcicle stand for a little vacay, I’m still a mommy and mommies worry. We are going to be going to places that are crowded, and even though there are four of us keeping track of the kids; Nick and I learned just how quickly one of our little ones can disappear, even when one of us is right behind them.
About a year ago, Nick and I took the kids to the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum (our favorite place to take the kids on rainy or freezing cold weekend days) and it happened to be a winter day when they host a small farmers market in the lobby of the museum. The place was packed, busier than I have ever seen it.
After a long visit to the butterfly enclosure, we headed to the kid’s second favorite place, the kid’s play space. Anyone not familiar with this museum, the back corner of the main floor contains an enclosed play area with a climbing area with a slide, a pretend beaver dam for the kids to play in, a pretend ship and an area where a kid can pretend to live underground like a worm. Across from this is the “basement” of the green (Eco-friendly) house.
We played for a while and decided it was time to head home for lunch. Nick and I collected the kids and headed toward the gate that separated the tot area from the rest of the museum. Charlie wanted to go into the green house basement for a few minutes to explore, so Nick followed him in and I stayed out with Tilly to get organized to go home.
While carrying Tilly and pushing the stroller, I walked out into the main hall to wait for Nick and Charlie. We waited for a few minutes and then walked back over to where we split up. Nick was standing there alone, looking confused. I waved thinking he was looking for us, and he looked at me and said “I’m not looking for you, I can’t find Charlie.”
My stomach dropped.
In the back corner of the “basement” there’s an exit to a short hallway back to the open area between the play space and the basement. Nick was about five feet behind Charlie in the hallway and he was running. Charlie made it to the end of the hall, and made a right into the common area. Nick made the same turn 3, maybe 5 seconds later and our little guy was no where to be seen.
I was just outside the area with Tilly, and he definitely hadn’t passed me in the hall. It was so packed that it was hard to tell who was there with kids and who wasn’t, and it was impossible to tell which child belonged to whom. I panicked.
Another couple standing nearby heard us talking, and stepped up to help. The husband stayed in the area with Nick to look for Charlie, and the wife carrying their child walked with me to find security to let them know there was a missing child. As we were walking, the woman was asking me what Charlie was wearing, and for the life of me I couldn’t tell her. My mind was a complete blank.
We were just getting to the security guard when the husband appeared in the hall and started yelling and waving his arms, “We found him! We found him!” and then Nick stepped into the hall holding Charlie. As it happened, in the three to five seconds that it took Nick to round the corner the gate to the kids area was open, and Charlie ran straight in and it was closed again by the time Nick got to the same place.
I saw him and I burst into tears. I ran to the two of them as fast as I could while still holding Tilly. Poor little Charlie was so confused about why I was so upset. He told me, “I knew where I was the whole time! I didn’t know I got lost!”
The whole ordeal caused us to amass a small crowd. One man decided he needed to loudly do a play by play for the people he was with. “Awww, lookit, she’s crying cuz she was scared. Da little kid dere took off and day couldn’t find ‘em. Tank God day found ‘em, yeah?”
We looked around once all the shock had worn off, but the couple who were so helpful to us we’re no where to be seen. I have no idea what they looked like, or even the gender of their child. We never got to thank them. I don’t know if they will ever see this, but if you are reading this and you recognize yourself, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. They were the longest three minutes of my life. I hope I never have to go through something like that again.Big deals, Favorites, My partner in crime, Out and about by Sandee Harned