today I picked up princess from her class same as always. She was excited to see us and ran out of the building fast as lightening. I needed to get a new bandage for the skin that is missing on my hand so I was waiting there for one and as she ran by I called to her to go to the playground. She did not hear me.
When I was finished putting the bandage on and walked to the playground expecting that she is in the jungle gym with her friends. She wasn't; after a few minutes and I did not see her at all I was getting a little nervous. I walked around the playground looking for her- no where to be seen. My pulse started to quicken, I started to sweat. I asked a few of the kids if they had seen her- no one had- I started to shake. Thoughts started going through my mind that no mother should think: what if she was taken, hit by a car, lost? What was I supposed to do? I had three other children with me and no car which would slow my progress when looking for her-and I did not bring my cell- impeding my ability to communicate. Should I walk our route home and see if she was on it? Should I call 911? What is the appropriate course of action?? There is NOT a handbook for this!
My heart was pounding one of the mothers who I count as my friends ran down to the end of the street to see if she was there- and if she was bring her back.
By this time Stinky and Peas had noticed things were abnormal. Stinky had also noticed the absence of his sister- which concerned him. His blue eyes were beginning to well with tears and his nose run.
I was actively trying to stay calm- as each second passed it was becoming harder and harder. The likelihood was that Princess had just run down ahead of me- typically I do not mind if she runs ahead as long as I know where she is going.
Soon I saw a little person dressed in hot pink talking to a grown-up about a block down. Because of my vision issues I couldn't see if they were coming- or standing still- or really other than the fact that there was a kid in pink (I hoped).
So what happened? She was down the road. The other mom brought her back and as soon as I could make out for sure that the little pink person was Princess I finally exhaled- and started towards her as fast as I could with Pixie strapped to me. I knelt as she ran towards me- and I hugged her- and cried. Finally able to breathe. I do not think I realized how scared I was or how much I love my children.
I was not the only one scared. She was terrified too. She couldn't see me. She did not know where I was. She was embarrassed that other mothers were looking for her. The other mothers who helped me were terrified to- when I child is missing- even just around the corner for a moment it is easy to put yourself in there place.
The good? The other mothers were fantastic. Offers to drive around looking for her, offers to call 911, helping me figure out what to do- or just doing it because I couldn't think.
Other good? The town's police force is out enforce in the afternoon.
Other good? She took the same way home we always take.
More good? The neighbors know her.
Even more good? She is fine. We are all fine.
She has never been so scared. I have never been so scared. While the mothers and I let our collective heart-rates drop back to normal she stayed glued to my side scared- needing the safe place of Mama. I needed her too.
We all learned somethings from this. We have a more detailed 'plan' if something should happen again.