Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Lost My Kid. Then I Found Him Again.

I made it almost 13yrs without misplacing one of my children.

We've been through crowded malls, amusement parks, beaches etc, wall to wall people, and I've always managed to keep both of them by my side, until we left the place/event.

They will be 13 & 9 in a few weeks, and I still wait outside the Men's Room door for them, and I won't let them go 'one aisle over' alone at Walmart.

Until yesterday.

It is our 'March Break' here, so the boys and I did a road trip to NB.

Yesterday, we went to the indoor/outdoor (during summer months) amusement park Crystal Palace.

We've been there a couple times a year, the past few years.

It's no Disneyland, but the kids like it.

There are rides, games, slushies and snow cones, mini-golf and a (very) small roller coaster.

It's all good.

And not 'crazy busy' because NB has already had their March Break, so most of yesterday's patrons were visitors from NS, or local kids skipping school.

We were there a total of 5 1/2 hrs.

About hour four, Adam (the 9yr old) decided he didn't want to go on the Roller Coaster with us again. He wanted to play the 'Bowling Game', which was right across from the Roller Coaster, and in clear view of the lineup Alec and I were standing in.

Only a few feet away.

Just as we're getting on, I look over and see Adam has moved down further to the Basketball Game. He motions to me that he's staying there.

Still in my line of sight.

We got on the Roller Coaster.

About a minute and a half later (if you estimate 30sec a round), we got off the Roller Coaster.

Adam was gone.

We walked down the row of games.

It was a short walk.

No Adam.

I wasn't going to panic.

Crystal Palace isn't THAT big.

He was JUST there.

He wasn't far.


My first mistake, was being comfortable enough at seeing the same families and kids running around all afternoon, and knowing he was right there, to agree to let him play the game while we took the 'minute and a bit' ride.

My second mistake, was walking around the Palace to try and find him.

Alec and I should have just stayed where we were.

We walked around three times.

No Adam.

We checked the games, the rides we had already been on, the ones he had expressed an interest in going on and the Prize Palace, in case he was checking out the prize he wanted to cash in his tickets for.

No Adam.

After 10-15 min of looking, I decided it was time to go to Security, and get his name called over the loud speaker.

Alec and I were on our way to the little red kiosk, where we purchased our tickets on the way in, when Alec said 'There he is Mom!'

I had been looking over at one of the rides and whipped my head around at his words.

There was Adam, walking toward me with a Security Guard at his side.

Our eyes locked, he ran the last few steps, and so did I.

I knelt down, grabbed him in my arms and we both let out a sob.

I was OK, until I had him in my arms again. Then I let go. And so did he.

He explained that he had looked over at the Roller Coaster when he was finished playing his game, and we weren't there.

He thought he had been playing for awhile, and that we had already gotten off the ride, and gone looking for him, when it had actually only been a minute or so, and we were still ON the ride.

So he started walking around looking for us.

And when we got off, we were walking around looking for him.

Not the smart thing to do. And we all knew it.

But God love 'im, when he didn't see us, he went to the same little red kiosk that we were on our way to. And he told them he couldn't find us.

They asked his name, age, my name etc. And the Security Guard had just started to walk around with him to look for me, when we met.

I thanked him, and he graciously replied that it happens every day, all the time.

Actually, we had heard names being called over the PA system two or three times while we were there that afternoon.

Didn't make me feel any better for being an idiot.

He then asked if I'd bring Adam over to the Prize Palace, where he gave him a kite, and a stuffed bear from the pickings (and you needed alot of tickets for those little suckers!).

To make him feel better after his 'adventure'.

I thought that was really nice of him.

After that, we played for another hour or so, stood in a half hour lineup to cash in their tickets for prizes, and left.

I'm not proud I lost my kid.

He was 15t away, in my direct line of sight, and I lost my kid.

Irresponsible on my part. Definitely.

Having a 13yr old in the house, who he often tries to imitate, I sometimes forget Adam is still only 9.

Yesterday was one of those times.

I don't know what I would have done, if some of the thoughts that were going through my head had materialized, instead of the outcome that was.

As Alec and I were running through the rides and games on our Adam Hunt, I couldn't help but remember a couple of years ago, when I found a lost little boy, on the Halifax waterfront, and then managed to find his Mom.

I hoped at the time, if I ever found myself in the reverse situation, that someone would be nice enough to return MY child.

Yesterday, the fates returned the favour. Thank you.

And thank you Mr Security Guard, for taking care of my boy.

And thank you Adam, for remembering the 'right thing' to do if you ever got lost.


P.S. But he wouldn't make a good eye witness. He told the guard I was wearing a brown and black shirt.

It was St Paddy's Day.

It was Green. LOL


Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm glad this ended well for you all. That must have been terrifying. But obviously, you've done a good job if he headed for the security guard. So good work, you!

Sue said...

Oh Good think you found him!

Do you know about 'Code Adam'? It's something Wal*Mart does down here if a child goes missing in the stores, they lock the exits until the child is found. It was named after Adam Walsh.

Kim's Korner said...

PTD - Yeah, it was definitely 15 of the scariest moments of my life.

I discovered that day that it's REALLY hard not to physically panic, when your insides and brain are freaking out.

And yes, he did VERY well to remember where to go if he was lost.

I was definitely more proud of him than I was of myself that day lol.

Sue - I'm not sure if we have "Adam's Code" here or not, but it's definitely a great policy!

I remember the Adam Walsh story. And I'd be lying if I said it didn't pop into my head within seconds of discovering MY Adam wasn't standing where he'd been a minute ago.

But, I pushed that one and the others that came with it aside, and focused on kids kids kids :-)

Brown hoodie, black jeans became my mantra lol.

And yes, I do thank God, and the Fates and the Powers That Be for letting us find each other safe and sound :-)

Kim's Korner said...

I was discussing this post with my friends elsewhere on the interwebs today, and I have been given permission to post part of our comment thread here.

I thought it might serve as a reminder, to all those reading this who have kids ... TALK to them about what to do if they should find themselves lost.

Sue S said...

Did you tell them specifically what to do, Kim, if that ever happened?

I saw some good advice somewhere which is to tell your kids to find a mother with some kids and tell her you're lost!

It would be easy especially for wee ones to get mixed up looking for a Security Guard, just going for some man in a uniform kind of thing.

Kim's Korner said...

Yeah. Scary. And stupid stupid stupid on my part.

And yes, we've always talked about what to do if one should ever get lost.

If we're in a store, they're to go to the Customer Service desk. Which I'll usually point out on the way in.

If we're somewhere we've never been before, we pick a spot on the way in and say 'THIS' is where you go if you get lost.

As they got older, I did tell them to look for a police officer if we're 'outside'.

Right when we got there that day, we happened to hear someone's name being called over the PA to go to the 'red ticket kiosk' to meet someone.

I made the flippant comment of 'So, THIS is where you go if you get lost here'.

Never thinking one of them would actually have to go there :-(

I'm just glad it was one of those times he was actually 'listening' to me.

And yeah, the Mother idea is a great one.

Michelle F said...

I've always said the same thing (and it's what they taught them in school last year) - a mom with kids or the person behind the desk at a store or info kiosk.

Sue S said...

I need to say this stuff to my kids more.

I think my approach now is just to hang on to them, literally. But that doesn't always work and they need to know without question what to do if it doesn't.

Thanks for the reality check, Kim!

I need to ramp it up on this subject! I'm a bit of a hider and a deny-er I think, not wanting to even think about these scary topics let alone talk about them, which is THE worst approach.

My kids are getting bigger now and not so easy to literally hang on to.

Time to change my approach!

Kim's Korner said...

When they were younger, I had the same approach. Hold their hand.


At 13 and 9, and being boys, I'm lucky they're still acknowledging they're with me ;-)

Adam, unfortunately, inherited his mother's strong independant streak. Something he made apparent quite early on.

I'll admit that he won't think twice of saying 'I'll be right back' and take off on me, and I'm left grabbing at air, yelling, "NO! STOP!'

But that's when he's comfortable, in a store he knows. Ok, one store in particular. LOL

Otherwise, they're usually still always 'with' me.

But Adam fights for that independance. Moreso than Alec at times, and it's a tough battle.

I definitely made a bad choice that time in letting him experience a bit of it, in a place we both felt comfortable.

And I really debated writing that post at all. And exposing myself for the idiot I was lol.

But then thought, it can serve as a good reminder to all of us who have kids. Little and not so little, that it can only take, literally, a minute.

Michelle F said...

You are not an idiot...just human.

Kim's Korner said...

Thanks Michelle :-)

Danie said...

There is not one parent out there who hasn't done the same thing at least once...including me.

I'm glad it was a happy ending :)

Kim's Korner said...

Thanks Dani.

It was definitely my worst Ass Flag moment as a Mom though :-(

But yes, it was definitely a happy ending, and now he has an 'exciting' story to tell about his March Break LOL.

~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ said...

OK, whew! So glad everything turned out ok. I found myself holding my breath while reading this...I nearly passed out!!!!


cat said...

Oh that is so scary! Greetings from South Africa.

gamommy2two said...

I'm so glad everyone found each other okay! You know...after reading several of these posts, I see a trend emerging. You have GREAT kids! Way to go Mama!

Kerri said...

OH, thank GOD you found him! That feeling...that empty, twisting sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Terrifying. So thankful everything turned out well!

Aleta said...

You had me thinking all those horrible "what if" situations while reading your blog and had me teary eyed when ya'll ran to each other and hugged! Glad he was safe and that he went to the security officer.

Lourie said...

How awful and scary that feeling is. Thank goodness you found him, and thank goodness he went for help.

Happy SITS day!

pixielation said...

Glad it all had a happy ending! I can just imagine the panic!

w said...

my worst fear is losing one of my kids. maybe i should consider an ankle beeper system.