Okay, so yesterday as I was reading through some archived posts at Sweatpantsmom I came across this post (the first one titled "Mommie Fully Loaded") that talked about how she "lost" her daughter at the movie theater and more than adequately described that panicked-sickening-feeling-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach you get when something like that happens. Hopefully most parents will never have to experience such a scary thing like not knowing where your child is... but it happened to me, twice. Those "Mom of the Year" awards? Not displayed at my house!
The first time was back in 1999. Drama, Buzz, Woody and I had walked to Walgreens which was a few blocks from the apartment building we lived. Buzz was still a baby, so I walked and pushed him in the stroller while Drama and Woody both roller bladed. Woody was almost 4 (he started roller blading - no joke- when he was 19 months old) at the time. When we got in the store I had Drama and Woody take off their skates so they could go inside and not cause a panic amongst the Walgreen's staff. Once inside, Woody (as he was known to do) kept wanting to wander off by himself (probably to find toys or candy). I kept pulling him back or telling Drama to grab him and bring him back to where the baby and I were shopping. After about the 15th time (I think I must have been looking for birthday cards or something) Drama came back and said she couldn't find him. I told her to stay with the baby while I walked up and down the aisles looking for Woody. When I walked up and back twice and couldn't see him, panic set in. OMG, where was my baby? A million things flashed through my head. Did someone come in and grab him, did he go out in the parking lot and get run over, how the hell was I going to tell my husband that I (choke) lost our son... ?I was in full-freak-out-mode. I went up to the front and asked an employee if they had seen him. She said she hadn't, so I screamed to Drama that I was going outside to look for him. I get outside, look wildly around and over in the distance (about 75 yards) sitting on a bench by the movie theater... was Woody holding his roller blades. I didn't know whether to scream or cry. It seemed that he couldn't find me in the store and thought maybe I left so he went outside to look for me and then just decided to sit on the bench and wait for me because he didn't know how to put on his skates by himself. Just re-telling this now gives me chills... Aaaaaaarrhhhgghh!
It was about a year and-a-half, maybe two years later I would live the sequel "Honey I lost the kid" part II.
The sequel took place at the pediatrician's office. We had taken Woody to be seen by the "after hours" doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics. The office is on the first floor a of a three story medical office building. Also on the first floor, just outside the pediatrician's office (but still inside the building) was a small pharmacy where patients could easily get prescriptions filled. When we first entered the building I noticed that one of the elevators kept opening and closing at will even though no one was riding it or waiting for it. After seeing the doctor I took both kids out to the pharmacy area to get Woody's medicine. He was very sick and just content to sit in one of the chairs while I spoke to the pharmicist. Buzz, who I don't think was even 2 yet , had other ideas. There was no one around, so it was relatively easy to keep my eye on him as he ran around. It was at this point where (you know the old cliche, I only turned my head for a minute?) I turned my head for a minute to write a check (remember writing checks?) for the medicine and I didn't hear him. Then? I didn't see him. I asked Woody where he was and he had his head down almost asleep, so he didn't know either. Panic? Hell yes. It was such a small area, where could he have gone? I grabbed Woody and we ran outside the building screaming Buzz's name. Woody, picked up on my panic and desperation and started crying as we ran around the perimeter of the building. I came back inside, looked around some more, thinking maybe he went back in the pediatrician's waiting area where there was a toddler slide, but no, he wasn't there either. I went back out by the elevators and just then the pharmicist came out of the elevator, with Buzz. Deep sigh. He had gotten on the (previously mentioned) faulty elevator and without pushing any buttons it had taken him up to the second floor, where, he got off. But did he panic? NO! The pharmicist said that he was just sitting there on his knees, waiting for me. After pledging my undying love and gratitude to the pharmicist I took both kids to the car, strapped them in and did what anyone in that situtation would do... had a complete meltdown. We were all crying... right there in the parking lot. I felt so raw.
Epilogue: I asked both kids last night if they remember either of these situations and guess what? Neither one remembers! So, I guess I haven't traumatized them for life... but there is still time....