Monday, October 25, 2010

Little Girl Lost - My Nightmare

It's 11:00 on Sunday night.  I can't sleep.  Visions of what could have been are rattling around in my brain.  I toss and turn, I tell myself that everything is fine, but I can't shake it.  We got lucky. 

No.

I got lucky. 

This afternoon we went to the Pumpkin Patch.  Not just any pumpkin patch, but the busiest and most popular pumpkin patch on this side of the Gulf.  We enjoyed pony rides, the butterfly tent, live music, and lunch.  Shortly after lunch Camdyn says she has to go potty.  So, we leave Daddy & Chloe, Aunt Liz & Uncle JJ, and Abby behind, and Cam & I set out to find a bathroom.  We settle for the port-o-potty, wash our hands, and then Camdyn asks me if we can go through the Mist Tunnel.  The Mist Tunnel, is a wooden structure about 12 feet wide, and maybe 30 or 40 yards long.  It's dark(ish) in there and fans blow mist to cool you off, because this is Florida ya'll and it's hot down here in October.  So, we venture in to the mist tunnel side by side.  About half way through, I say, "Let's exit here and go to the table."  Camdyn wants to walk all the way through the tunnel, so I say "I'll wait right here.   Go to the end and then come back."  That didn't seem like a big deal...it was a mere 15 yards or so and I was going to watch her the whole time.  Well, that was the plan anyway.

So, I'm standing there and I'm watching her bound through the tunnel and suddenly a man steps in my line of view.  I step to the side to get Cam back in my sight.  WHERE IS SHE?  WHERE DID SHE GO?  So, I begin to run through the tunnel to find her.  She was just right in front of me.  How did I lose her in one second?  I get through the tunnel and look for her at the end, and she isn't there.  I look outside towards the picnic area and I don't see here.  WHERE IS SHE?  Momma panic sets in and I begin screaming her name.  I run in the tunnel and back out of the tunnel.  CAMDYN?  People are starting to notice.  I begin screaming at random people to help me.  HELP ME!  Black Shirt, Orange Tutu skirt, 4 years old.  She's missing.  I scream this over and over.  People are gathering around, as I dart in and out of the tunnel.  I am at a loss.  My head is spinning.  CAMDYN?  WHERE ARE YOU?  Thoughts start rushing through my mind.  Did someone carry her out of the tunnel?  This is Florida - pedophiles outnumber everyone else 3 to 1.  How am I going to live with myself?  How did I lose her?  I only had one kid to watch.  How did I do this?  HELP ME!  I NEED HELP!  I CAN'T FIND HER! 

My mind is swirling.  I decide I need to find Chris.  He has to help me search for her.  I run toward the table where the group was finishing lunch.  PLEASE GOD HELP ME.

And, then I see her. 

She's sitting on Uncle JJ's lap with tears streaking down her face. 

I break down. 

I hold her and we cry. 

Relief. 

Joy. 

Guilt. 

She says to me, "Momma don't ever leave me."  And, then Chloe starts to cry because everyone else is crying, and the baby is really intuitive like that.  When I come to my senses, I think I'd better walk her over to the 20 people who had gathered in concern and probably bewilderment as I ran around in circles screaming for my little girl lost.  I carried Cam to the end of the tunnel where the crowd had gathered.  "I found her.  We are okay.  Thanks everyone.  Thank You."  Other Momma's smiled at me, their eyes were compassionate, they all seemed to understand.  One Momma even told me she was about to ask the band to stop playing and make an announcement. 

I carried Camdyn for 10 minutes and held her hand the rest of the day.  We talked in length about what to do if we ever become separated....FREEZE YOUR FEET.  Don't move from the spot you are in.  Ask a Momma who has kids with her to help you find your mom.  We always ask a Mom. 

I learned today that life can change in an instant.  No matter how responsible of a parent I think I am, I make mistakes.  This just might be the biggest one I've made so far. 

I thought that maybe if I blogged this out, then maybe I'd feel better and I'd get some sleep tonight.  Now, I'm thinking that maybe I need to crawl in to bed with Camdyn.  I need to listen to her sweet tiny snores and feel the movement of her chest.  I need to be reminded that she is fine.  We are all fine.  I think maybe that is how I'll get over this, tonight. 

His blessings are everywhere.  God is Good.

20 comments:

TV's Take said...

Kneedeep, I have tears in my eyes reading this. What an awful feeling that must have been. So soooo glad she is okay! It's moments like those that she learned a valuable lesson - freeze your feet and ask a mommy. I'm sure she'll never forget those!

cooperl788 said...

This totally made me start to tear up! I'm feeling just how frightened and panicked you were. I think these things happen to every parent once, and thankfully, Camdyn is okay. I love the idea of freezing your feet and finding another mommy - I'm going to put it in my idea bank for what to say to Georgia when she gets a little older.

t.bird said...

gah! scary! i'm all teary now :(
i'm so glad she was ok!!!

Liz said...

That was scary. I'm so glad Camdyn came and found us, so that she was safe. Although, now she knows to freeze your feet and that works even better. You did the right thing by getting all those people involved because if something really had happened, you would have wanted all those people on the look-out.

So glad we did Hunsader, Abby had a blast and we really enjoyed it too. Definitely the best Fall Festival we've been to!

LeeAnn said...

Oh my gosh Carol. How scary! I am bawling right now. I don't really know why, since there was a happy ending. But I am. I can't even imagine how scared you were. Well, yeah I can, because I know how afraid I would have been.

You taught me something with this story, though. I am definitely going to have a talk with Rylie about freezing and asking another Mommy to help her. Right now we just do the "don't talk to strangers" thing, but I need to tell her what to do if she gets lost. She WILL wander away from me, and I know that no matter how good you watch your child, anything can happen.

I'm so glad Camdyn was OK. I feel so bad for both of you.

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

I am so glad that she is ok.

Ashley said...

Carol this post made me cry. It's so so scary! I'm so glad everything turned out fine. Great idea to say "freeze your feet" - my 3.5 year old is always running off.

Tammy said...

I am so glad Camdyn is ok! What a scary, frightening feeling that must have been. What a reminder to all of us Mom's to have a talk about what to do if you ever get lost.

Take care & give her lots of hugs!

Jennifer said...

Oh, Carol. I can't even imagine how you felt. That was probably the longest few minutes of your life. It happens though. And, like you said, it doesn't matter how good we are as parents. Things happen. I am so glad everyone was okay. I think it is great that you shared. We will all have a talk with our own little ones and maybe be a little more thankful today :)

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I can't even imagine the panic you must have felt. I'm so glad that she's okay!

Kirsten said...

Oh Carol! That must have been terrifying! I'm glad everyone is okay. You are so right- "His blessings ARE everywhere and he IS so good!" <>

Nessa said...

I cried and then ran a picked up my daughter off the floor and hugged her tight. I had to come back and comment well after I read this.

My heart goes out to you and I am so glad everything was fine.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Must have been such a traumatic afternoon - I'm so glad your daughter was safe and sound.

Kate said...

I only scanned a couple of lines of this. That was enough for me.

I'm so glad that everything is fine, and I'm so sorry that you went through this.

Remember before we were parents and we were all "oh, I don't think I'll ever be ready to have a baby and lose my freedom and have to buy diapers." Yeah, right. If only that were the hard stuff.

Sarah @ Cole's First Blog said...

This made me tear up - I think all parents can relate to that visceral panic that leaves your heart racing even after you know everything's okay...

At storytime, Cole wriggles his way through people's legs and left the room - by the time I pushed my way out he had disappeared. It turns out he went behind the desk and the librarian wasn't paying attention, but the 2 minutes before I found him were just about the scariest of my life.

Mama Hen said...

Oh Carol this is scary! I always have my eye on Little Chick, but at times the park and tunnels allows for a split second of panic. I told Little Chick that I need to see her all the time and a friend told me that it is good to say that she needs to see mommy all the time. They understand that better. I am so happy you found her right away! Have a good night!

Mama Hen

TV's Take said...

KneeDeep, your comment on my post tonight almost made me cry. Thanks for being such a great bloggy friend. You are one-of-a-kind KneeDeep.

Eastlyn and co. said...

Time for true confessions. I am paranoid about my kids to the extent that they're paranoid, too. (Not that that's such a good thing, but I once read an article entitled "Paranoid Children Stay Alive"). One day we were all at the park and a man was innocently walking his dog on a leash. My daughter froze and her hand gripped mine as she whispered, "There's a man with a dog!" We'd been over and over how sometimes "bad" adults will try to lure children away by using their pets, etc. Okay, now fast forward a few years. I was in the grocery store with my 11-yr-old daughter, and we were trying to hurry because it was almost time to pick up my son from a friend's house. I had some coupons and asked my daughter if she wanted to go get the cheese. (I'm trying to learn to give them a little independence.) I gave her the coupon and off she went back to the dairy section. I headed off to grab a couple more items never thinking that I didn't tell her where to meet me. I kind of coasted up and down the main aisle hoping she'd find me SOON! A minute or two passed and my heart was starting to race. I pushed my buggy a little faster looking up and down the side aisles. I made a u-turn and went back to the dairy section. I was almost sprinting back up to the check out lanes to have them page her when there she was almost in tears and probably about to have them page me. Even though my "baby" is bigger than I am, it was still as scary as ever. My heartrate kicked up a notch just reading your post. I'm sure both you and Camdyn learned something that day. I'm so glad it all worked out. God is good...all the time. All the time...God is good.

Cindy Wolfe said...

Carol, I'm so glad things worked out and I can't imagine the panic that must have set in, when only reading about it increased my heart rate! Nic is only 3.5 months, but I know I'll be thinking of you when he learns to freeze his feet and ask another mommy! Sending hugs and love from Ottawa!

Anne said...

Tears to my eyes story... I am just so happy that the ending is a good one... I love the Freeze your feet! Violet and Preston are going to be taught that one. Love you girl!