About 2 weeks after I gave birth to my son, I was ready to get out of the house for a bit. When he was just a few days old we had a huge ice storm and our city was basically shut down. My husband was in Diego Garcia with the Air Force (read: he was shark fishing while I was at home with a 2 year old and a newborn... but I am not bitter). When the roads had cleared and the electricity had been restored I was itching to get out of our house which had become our prison for 14 days.
I bathed and dressed Hope up as cute as a button. I did this because I had not bathed her or dressed her since her brother arrived on the scene and I needed to get the caked-on jelly off of her hands and the dried ketchup from the corners of her mouth and chin.
I strapped the kids in the car (HA! We only had a car back then... a 2-door at that! Ahhh, the simplicities in life.) and headed to SuperTarget. While there I needed to buy food because we had eaten through our storm reserves and were in dire need of potato chips and marshmallow fluff. I was standing at the deli counter chatting with the woman who was shaving my turkey for me (no, not shaving an actual BIRD, but shaving the turkey lunch meat very thin.) I turned around and Hope was gone.
I started calling her name and walking through the bins of vegetables. I walked by the carts and the windows still calling her name. Panic started to set in... I started running past the aisles and calling her name with a pleading shrill behind it. I thought my nightmares had come true and someone had snatched my precious 2 year old. I reprimanded myself for dressing her up so cute that morning as fear ripped through my soul.
Suddenly I hear someone say "Here She IS!" and I turn to see my little Hope skipping back to me. I ran to her and scooped her up and started to cry. I had lived in pain for a total of 2 minutes and could not imagine a more debilitating lifetime of that feeling. Hope looked up at me and said " I wuz jus wookin at the wobsters!"
I will never forget that day... or the feeling of dread that I had.
Yesterday I was at Target again (seriously folks, I should just change my mailing address to Target) and I only had baby Mary with me who was strapped to my body in a Baby Bjorn. As I was walking to the checkout I see a mom start to call her daughter's name. "Leah? Leah where are you?" As soon as I heard this I too started to look around for the little girl. The mom ran to the windows and near the carts, I started looking through the aisles because I knew the exact feeling of helpless fear that this mother was experiencing. Finally we hear someone say "Is this her?" and out pops the little girl from the dollar aisle and says "Mama? Can I have dis?"
The mother scooped her up and started to cry.
This post is for all of the parents who have yet to find their children. Who have to live day in and day out with the sadness that I only had to endure for 2 minutes-I could not imagine.
God Bless you and your families. Hold tight to your babies-even when they have dirty fingernails and lunch dried on their faces.