Thursday, May 28, 2009

A moment's panic

A seasoned parent would recognize the different emotions you feel when you lose sight of your child even for only a couple of minutes, in my case, in an unfamiliar city, outside my country, without the Good Man by my side, on the 3rd floor of a mall at a kids play zone enclosed by a short wall. Mostly you remember your heart skipping a beat when you look up after strapping your younger child in the stroller and realizing that his brother is not where you expect him to be. You quickly scan the area where you last saw him. Not there. And then your eyes dart from play structure to play structure trying to penetrate them, hoping to see his laughing face pop out from behind them suddenly. Then you feel your heart rise up to your throat as you find yourself running madly through the play area, this time only looking for a blue and yellow striped shirt knowing that it is the most identifiable thing about him in a place full of smiling, giggling boys his age. You hear yourself calling his name, his first and last, like you often do when you're displeased with his behaviour. And your eyes begin to well up with tears because there is no sign of him but you fight back the urge to cry because you think it would only cloud your vision. Thoughts of abduction, pedophiles and other crazy scenarios race through your head. Then you remember your other child, the one that's securely fastened to the double stroller inside the play area, a no-stroller zone, in front of a group of moms that you deemed safe, a decision made in half a second in your moment of panic. Your eyes travel from the elevator to the tables surrounding the play area and back to the elevator but there is still no sign of him. Finally you begin to feel that your child is truly lost, out of reach, when you see his face appear among a crowd of bodies. He's walking towards you from outside the playzone and you hear a panicked voice, another mom, scolding her daughter for walking out of the playzone by herself. Your arms encircle your child. You feel relief and anger all at once. You hold back the tears and reach deep to find calmness so as not to frighten him and talk to him about never ever, ever leaving without you ever again. All the while you feel your bottom lip quivering and know that you failed to hide the terror that is still evident in your eyes because now your child is crying a little and he tells you that he only wanted to "go down the steps". So you pick him up and hug him tightly and you feel your shoulders beginning to relax. You tell him how scared you were when you couldn't find him and make him promise to never disappear like that again. Ever.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


  1. SO happy to hear this happy ending to a scary, scary moment for you!

  2. Oh you poor poor thing. I know just how you feel. I lost Renée for about 10 minutes at a fairground once. I felt so guilty, so scared for her and so sick all at the same time. Another mother found her in floods of tears thank God, but I was so ashamed that to this day my husband still doesn't know! So glad for you it was a happy ending. Hope you're ok now x

  3. Lord, this made me feel wonky reading it... I lost mine for a few moments in an empty playground the other day. Only a few places he could go and he was in one of them but I was still pretty jolted. I've tagged you over at mine by the way...