a day of horror, but not Halloween

I’ve been meaning to write about this forever, because as my sisters pointed out, the silver lining to the dark cloud over the story I’m about to write, is that it was good blog material.  So while I hope you enjoy reading, for your sakes I hope you can not relate.  If I were a little more clever I could turn it into a very humorous tale, but this will have to do.

At the beginning of October we went down to Provo for my brother Evan’s wedding.  I’ll save the fun and exciting parts of that trip for another post.  Maybe, if I ever get around to it.

The day after the wedding my sisters and mother and I decided as our wedding gift we would do a little decorating in the newlyweds’ apartment.  We sent most of the children with our husbands but I brought Simon along with me.  We put Simon (in his carseat) in one cart and grabbed another cart for our merchandise.  I can’t really say who was pushing which cart when it happened.  All I know is that somewhere along the way there was a mix-up, and when I looked in the two carts we were pushing, neither of them contained a baby. 

“Where is my baby!?”  The three other women, all mothers, looked frantically in the two baby-less carts and then we deserted said carts while we searched the aisles looking for Simon.  He was a few aisles down, contentedly looking around as if just waiting for us to return.  The entire incident lasted probably less than two minutes, but if you can relate you know what a long two minutes those can be. 

A couple hours later, after finishing our task at the apartment, the guys met up with us.  Miriam was asleep in her carseat so Richard stayed in the van with her. Cameron and Eli came into the apartment, and thinking Richard and the van were just outside in the parking lot, I sent Cameron back out to retrieve the diaper bag.  Cameron didn’t return.  I went out to the parking lot, and neither Cameron or the van were anywhere to be found.  I wasn’t worried at this point, mostly just confused.  I walked around the side of the apartment complex to the road and saw Richard standing outside the van talking on his phone. 

I asked “Where is Cameron?”  and he mouthed a reply “I don’t know” while giving me an expression that said “I’m trying to have a conversation here.”  Anxiety was awakening inside me while I walked back to the apartment to see if I had missed him somehow.  When I got there and saw that he wasn’t there I started to panic and all available adults were dispatched for a search. 

I went back to Richard who could see my distress and abruptly finished his phone call.  In the stress of the moment neither of us quite had our senses about us and we left Miriam in her seat, in the unlocked car and began searching for our kid. 

This incident lasted much longer, or at least it seemed much longer.  We had spread in several different directions and my brother in law even took his car to drive around.  Richard finally found Cameron, eight blocks away, crossing another street.   When I encountered them Cameron had lost his stoic and confident demeanor and melted into a frightened, yet relieved six year old. 

Our own relief was quickly obliterated upon returning to our van and discovering that Miriam was no longer inside.  I don’t need to describe the next few minutes that occurred before we learned that Lori had rescued her from what clearly could have been a worse fate.  

I am not the paranoid parent.  That would be Richard.  I don’t worry much at all about my children’s safety, in fact it is to a fault.  I hope that those who know me, know I am a good mother despite my sometimes lackadaisical parenting.  But I was still mortified in those brief moments when I imagined the worst. 

Of course, looking back now it is already easy for me to laugh about it all.  I hope that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything on that day I lost [nearly] all my children. 

8 thoughts on “a day of horror, but not Halloween

  1. Even I've already had my golden parenting moments, and while I won't share mine because I'm too embarrassed, I appreciate your honesty to let us all know we're doing okay:)

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  2. Oh Jo, you sure have a way of making me feel normal. As I have had my own moments of panic in the midst of head counting children only to notice that one is missing. I can't tell you how many times I panic only to find out that they were only in my blind spot! Kids sure have a way of making life exciting and keeping us on our toes :)!

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  3. I can relate. And I think it's okay for us to admit that this happens to all of us!! Right?? One time my parents (after having 7 kids) left my brother at a gas station in Las Vegas. He was 5-6 at the time….but they didn't notice he was missing until they were 15-20 minutes down the road!!! I'm sure everyone panicked at the time but we laugh about it all the time now. It's amazing we made it to adulthood I think….

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