That time I lost my kid.

Pick up time at Mother’s Day out is crazy. Parents are rushing around, carrying multiple bags, and many wrangling multiple kids. You have art projects {some with still wet paint}, lunch sacks, nap mats, diaper bags… You get the picture.

So, on this particular day, I had my then-4-year-old by the hand and was trying to hold on to my 1.5 year old along with her bags. I don’t know why, but they were both trying to get away from me at the same time. Anyway, I turned to say something to another mom and turned back around and my little one was gone. I mean, in a split second she literally disappeared.

We were right by the front doors {and parking lot}, so I immediately sat my 4 year old down and briskly walked out to the parking lot. Mind you, there are like 20 other parents walking around. So, I’m trying to keep my cool. I don’t see her. I calmly go back inside and start looking around in other areas. Up the nearby stairs, in the play area, closets, in other rooms. Nothing. Oh! There’s a fish tank. I then run back to the fish tank thinking she’s looking at the fish… Nope.

At this point minutes have passed. Minutes. Other parents are helping and the MDO director and secretary for the church are also looking around. We are down the hallways, I had gone back out to the parking lot for a second time. {Claire, my eldest, is still sitting on a bench with another adult.}

When all the adults who were looking around the building met back up in the common area and no one had my little girl I could not keep my “cool mom” composure anymore. {By this time it had easily been 5 minutes.} Maybe it’s the years I worked in the TV news business, but I do believe things can happen ANYWHERE. It doesn’t matter where you live or who you know. Bad things just happen sometimes.

We were about to call the police when a pastor of the church calmly walked in with his lunch and a shopping bag. He says he had a strong feeling to go look in a big front storage closet. We had looked there several times. He looked inside. No kid. Then, after he walked away, he said he just felt this strong urge to go back inside and look again.

There she was.

My little Daisy was quietly hiding up under the bottom of the stairs in this huge toy storage closet. She had gotten inside one of those toy cars and was crouched in the seat area. The little stinker WAS HIDING. I couldn’t even contain myself. I busted into tears {again} and grabbed her so tight. Claire came up to us and we all hugged. Claire was particularly concerned that she saw me cry. Apparently, this was the first time she saw me really emotional about something. She still mentions it sometimes.

I learned a lot about myself that day. I learned that all of us parents are in this together, and given the situation, we will jump in and help out no matter what. Now, I do not hesitate one second to go and help another mom if she seems stressed or worried about something. And you know what? I judge less too.  We aren’t bad parents when something like this happens. Things just sometimes happen no matter how proactive or prepared we are.  Also, I learned it’s okay to cry in front of my kids. In fact, it’s actually led to other conversations about emotions, family, and safety.

So while I’m not exactly thrilled about that time I lost my kid, I grew from it and became a better mom as a result.  And isn’t that what this journey is all about?

That Time I Lost My Kid

3 Responses to That time I lost my kid.

  1. Christi January 25, 2015 at 7:13 am #

    OMGoodness! This has happened to me too and it was absolutely terrifying. My mom friends and I took our little ones to the Jumpy House Place, (thats what we call it anyway). We go in and the kids bolt. Super excited. My son was just almost three and he loved going which was new because he had developed an early fear of jumpy houses when he was little and thanks to a neighbor that had a jumpy house she pulled out in the front yard from time to time he conquered his fear. (I wish I could be so strong sometimes!)

    So the moms and I sat down in the center where all the tables were and the kids were playing in the little kids jump house and everything was great. I looked away for a minute .. a split second.. and he was gone. Just.. gone. Now my son is short. Very much so, hes on the bottom of his growth chart so my first fear was he had walked right out the door past the front desk without anyone seeing.

    Frantically, I’m looking around. In every jumpy house. Looking for my little happy boy. He wasn’t in the parking lot or anything. I looked behind and on the side of the jumpy houses. I looked everywhere I possibly could. My friends were running around helping me too. I was losing it. It had been minutes and I had begun to fear ‘what if someone took him!’. This place doesn’t require wrist bands or anything for kids and parents to leave together.

    I went to go check the bathrooms and vending machine area when I saw a girl, probably eight or so talking to someone I couldn’t see on one of those obstacle course bounce houses. Leaning over the side (I’m short too) sure enough my little man was inside there. He was so short I had walked past it searching several times unable to see him. But he was safe and I grabbed him and clung to him.

    I was so terrified. And now grateful that he was okay. After that I learned many things. Firstly, if we go to a place where my now nearly five year old is going to be in huge groups of children I dress him in a REALLY bright neon shirt. I don’t want to hover and he is a very independent little guy. So I dress him in a shirt that I can easily see where I stand on the side lines so I’m watching him like a hawk and he has no idea. Secondly, we have a steadfast rule, if you’re going to change your spot… aka go from one jumpy house to another across the room I need to know. He was a bit speech delayed when he was lost that time but he could communicate. And now, he uses his words to tell me when he is going to a different area. We have a system now.. but it was definitely one of the scariest moments of my life.

    I feel for you and I’m glad everything worked out all right.

    • Andrea S
      Andrea S January 25, 2015 at 7:17 am #

      Scary, Christi! Glad your little man was OK too!! The neon shirt at the bouncy house place is a great idea.

  2. Jenn January 25, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    Thank you im so sorry this happened to you I know how you felt and I sure was hoping I wasn’t the only one who lost a child!

    During Christmas holidays I lost my 3 year old at the Airport. I had my 1.5 yr old and 3 year old and we were looking out an airport window, we were in a corner and a quiet area and I thought it was great And then I turned to say look an airplane is landing and he was GONE. After a min or two of looking myself I allerted airport staff and he was found after 10 mins at the other side of the airport in a corner crying. The emotions of that dare are still very raw, so Kids arnt allowed to get out of the stroller now when it’s just me with the kids but We talk about it a lot and I remind both the kid of how scared we all felt when someone gets lost and how we need to all stick togther. I love the bright clothing idea.

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