A few weeks ago–Fathers Day to be exact–I thought we lost Audrey. She’s at that age when she feels independent. She thinks she can walk off on her own, doesn’t want to be in the shopping cart or hold your hand etc. She’s a big girl and she wants you to know it. In a lot of ways this is a good thing…but in a lot of ways it isn’t and it can be very frustrating.
It was a beautiful warm and sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky. After church everyone was gathered outside eating sliders, root beer floats, racing remote control cars and hitting balls on a putting green. All around were conversations going on and kids laughing and playing. Audrey was sitting on a little cement step right behind Chris. I was holding Lauren and turned around for literally 5 seconds or less to throw something in the garbage and when I turned back around Audrey was no longer sitting there. At first I wasn’t worried. She had been obsessed with the putting green and the remote control cars so I assumed she was just right there. But as we looked in those two places she was nowhere to be found.
Now in my mind I knew she couldn’t have gone far. It is a rather large property and she couldn’t have covered that much ground. She could have gone inside the building. She could have been running around with some other kids. But as I stood back from the crowd of people and couldn’t see her anywhere, panic started to set in. With each pan of the crowd of people my heart started to race a little more. My hands were shaking. Where was she? It was the longest two minutes of my life! I have never felt that sort of fear. I felt sick to my stomach. Where was she? Just as I was about to lose it, the guy Chris had been talking to motioned over to me that she was over playing in the bushes next to the building right behind where she has been sitting. The bushes were just tall enough that we couldn’t see her. Seeing the little girl bound towards me was the best feeling I have felt in a long time. I then quickly felt anger and I sternly called her by her full name. She had a look of “what’s wrong momma” and I told her not to ever run off like that again. She probably thought we were being silly considering she knew where she was and probably could see us the entire time. My heart probably didn’t return to its normal rhythm for at least a half hour, same with my shaking hands.
It was only two minutes–but man it scared me. I cannot imagine either of them actually going missing. It was the worst feeling of my life. We have been having talks more and more about how she needs to stay with us and hold our hands etc. The more she grows and the more independent she gets the more anxiety it gives me.
How do you keep your kids safe and within your reach when you are out and about?