Imagine your worst fear. Then multiply it time about eight hundred and fifty thousand. That happened to me today. Just about an hour ago. I took the girls to our local kids festival for the second day in a row. Yesterday we went and had SO much fun, I thought today we'd go with the girls' swimsuits so that they could do everything that they didn't get to do yesterday. Great idea, right? It was. We had so much fun. They did bubbles, water slides, played with the puppies from the animal shelter, etc. Then we watched Scooby Doo Live, which they both thoroughly enjoyed. At the end of the show, Shaggy threw out some little mini frisbees to the kids in the audience. HRH ran up to get one, which was fine. I could see her. She finally got one, then decided that we should go get Lucy one (isn't she a sweet big sister? :) ). Our awesome neighbors were with us, so Lucy stayed with them while Madge and I ran up to the stage. I turned around after about 3 minutes (literally..... 180 seconds) and Lucy was no where to be found. She had started following us, and my neighbor thought I knew it, so we both had assumed that she was with the other one. There were probably 200-300 people at this little amphitheatre watching the show, and I could not see my sweet little peanut who's only 33 inches tall anywhere. This is the point in your life where you literally can FEEL your heart constrict and your lungs struggling to fill with air. I'm calling "Lucy!" , which the people around me pick up and start doing, I race up to the stage with a very upset 4 year old sister to find a policeman to report a :::::::::::gulp:::::::::: missing child. I have given birth twice, struggled through years and years of infertility treatments, had all sorts of icky things happen to me, and trust me when I say they PALE in comparison to having to tell a policeman that your two year old is missing. It's like you're on autopilot, reciting what they're wearing, their name, hair color, etc. The nice policeman was getting all of the information ready to send out over his walkie talkie when an organizer from the festival comes up and says "you're looking for a little girl? What's she wearing?" A wonderful angel of a lady took her to the registration tent, which is also the lost and found, it was about 150 feet from where we were. I don't know who that lady was, all I know was they described her as a pretty black lady, but lady, whoever you are, you have my devotion for the rest of my life. I really really wish you had left your name with the organizers. You saved my life. I will be eternally grateful and hope that some day I can help someone out the way you helped me. Lucy was just fine, a little quiet, had some tears coming down her face, they said she asked them for water. And wouldn't tell them her name. She kept saying her name was Juli.
Please let this be a lesson to anyone who reads this. Make sure your children know what to do if they can't find you. Madge has it down pat. She will recite it for anyone who asks. She is to go find a mommy with a baby (we used to say policeman until we realized it might be hard for her to distinguish a policeman from any other uniform, so now we say mommy), tell her "I can't find my mommy. My name is (first name) (last name), my mommy's name is Juli and my daddy's name is David". Lucy, on the other hand, we never really thought we had the need to teach her that so soon. She's just a baby! I know better now. And I pray that I never feel what I felt today again. And that none of you ever have to feel it either.
Go grab your babies, no matter how old they are, hug them, squeeze them, kiss them, and tell them you love them. Let them get away with a little something today. Let them stay up late, eat ice cream for supper, something special.