…It was back in the days of only one child. Back in the day where I could run into a store, get what I needed and head right out of said store with a happy child buckled into the cart knowing nothing about the tantrums and pouty faces that could soon gain them a fancy toy or candy from the check out isle…oh back in the day….

Any way, I took a much needed trip to Toys R Us with my mother who was in town visiting. Understand that when I say “much needed,” to this day I can’t tell you what the heck it was we went in there for.  We wandered past the battery powered cars, you know those $600 Jeeps and giant pink barbie corvettes… well, for whatever reason baby Kaelob was not buckled into the cart but was walking like a big boy next to me and holding my hand.  When we came around the corner and saw these magic mechanical beauties he ran full speed towards them squealing with delight!

We let the happy boy sit in them for a few minutes while we chatted about whatever it was we were there to get, admired how good he looked in one of those and dreamed of one day the toy store reducing the price to something more affordable for normal people… THEN, it was time to move on.  He fussed a little bit but with his hand in mine and his feet continuing to move(albeit heavily in defiance) we continued on our way.

Although I do not remember what brought us to the store in the first place, I do however remember very vividly the isle I was standing in when the unthinkable happened.  I was eyeing the old school board games thinking how much fun it would be to play checkers or chutes and ladders with my child when he is old enough… as I begin to point out one game in particular to my sweet adorable child, he screams, “NNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!” yanks his hand out from mine and takes off running in the opposite direction as fast as his little legs will take him, which was pretty darn fast… I think I blinked (out of shock) and he was already gone.

Go figure when things like this happen no one is around to help you grab that horrible no good child of yours or at least point you in the right direction…thankfully my supermom senses kicked in and I remembered that this particular store had one way in and one way out so I went directly to the front and told  a lady with a radio on her hip the unthinkable; I have lost my son.

She quickly radioed the entire store his description and info while I stood there dumbfounded that this could have actually happened to me.  Suddenly I heard through the radio, “we found him, he doesn’t seem to think he’s lost at all! He’s over here driving the Jeep! Look’s like mom’s gonna have to get him one for Christmas!”

Honestly, I don’t know which emotion I felt first; the relief that they found him safe and sound or the anger at the man for even suggesting I would now reward my son by buying him this horrible money eating contraption!!! We rushed out of the store and I promised myself, that would never happen again.

Famous last words, right?

WELL… it happened again, but this time a little different…maybe I am getting older and more absent minded but I almost accept the blame for this mishap, yep I do, I really do.

We were spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the beach and were about to pack up our junk and head down the beach for a stroll along the beautufil California coastline when Peytne began complaining that her “tummy hurt” … seeing as we just barely survived a week long stomach bug in our tiny house with one bathroom I wanted to cancel ALL plans and book it home as soon as possible.  I explained to Kaelob and Haylee very clearly why we were ending our plans early and saw Haylee had sand all over her hands and Kaelob was holding a bowl covered in sand still.  I said, “Okay while I put Peytne in the stroller Kaelob I want you to wash out that bowl and Haylee I want you to wash off your hands and then we will walk up to the car okay?”  They both happily agreed and as I turned to buckle in the baby I saw them run off eagerly ready to complete their assigned tasks.

I took my time talking to the baby (giving her the 3rd degree about this mysterious sore tummy) and bucking her in the stroller, then loading all the junk that was in the seat of the stroller underneath it. When I stood up to tell my children, who I assumed were goofing off in the water in stead of getting their jobs done, I didn’t see them.  I scanned the water’s edge and didn’t see either one of my children.  I quickly glanced over to a “pool” they had spied earlier and wanted to play with the little girl who had dug it, they were not there.  Where else could they have gone???

I frantically looked around me and again no one was around… okay to be honest there were a lot of people at the beach but no one that was paying attention to my poor example of parenting, no one to point their finger and say, “you just lost your kids?! What a horrible mother you are!” No one to reassure me that they just went that way and I just can’t see them with my “old person” eyes…so like I said, no one.

I wracked my brain trying to think of where else they could have gone! Backtracking myself I remembered what I asked them to do… If they didn’t go to the ocean to wash off the bowl (this is assuming they actually were following directions) where else would they have gone?!

The showers.

Makes sense, right? But there was only one problem- IF I walked all the way up the sand dune and over to the showers they could possibly finish washing themselves off and return to the beach where they last saw me, looking for me and I would be gone.  This is again assuming they were following directions and being responsible children that would promptly return to where they left me at on the beach.  AND as my mind continued to wander through various scenarios of what if’s I realized that in the time that I was just standing here waiting for my assumed well behaved children to return they could be off somewhere with some kidnapper being dragged away but because I hadn’t informed anyone they would be lost forever…. or just simply getting themselves more lost while I just stood there on the beach looking like an idiot.

Supermom powers kicked in and I asked the nice gentleman, who were coincidentally happily playing football while I was having a full fledged panic attack, if they could keep their eyes open for two blond headed kids coming over the hill with a white bowl and to tell them to stay put by the flag till I came back. *sigh* one problem solved.
I headed up the sand dune, which seemed to have tripled in size since we had climbed down it only an hour earlier and I prayed.  I prayed and I prayed and I prayed.  I’m pretty sure I was praying out loud and for all I know people were gasping at me and glaring at me like I were a crazy person… in all sense of the word I was, I LOST MY CHILDREN!!!  
Then it happened…
I came over the hill and caught a glimpse of Kaelob’s blue bathing suit and heart Haylee’s laughter.  They were playing together in the shower’s and washing out the bowl I had given them.  I leaned on the stroller completely out of breath from my mountain climbing excursion and watched them play.  Kaelob was splashing her and she was squealing (more like screaming) and dancing around just outside the reach of the shower.
Then Kaelob said,”come on Haylee let’s go find mommy, its clean!” and they bounced off in the opposite direction ready to fly over the hill and find me waiting.  I called out to them and the switched gears and bounced over to me happy as could be, unaware at all that mommy had lost them.

Yes, this one was clearly my fault.  I told them to go wash the bowl. I told them to wash the sand off. I told them to do it… was I specific about where to do it? No.  Do we normally EVER use the showers? No, but clearly that didn’t rule out the option for my children to think that’s what I meant when I told them to go “wash off”.

Do I blame them? Nope. Do I feel stupid… Yep.

Moral of the Story: be more specific and STOP LOSING YOUR KIDS!!!

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