Heart Stopping Moments for Parents

I think that one of the most heart stopping moments that a parent can experience is being called at work and being told that something has happened to one of their children. The second is having a child go missing. Put the two together, and well there is a recipe for some real anxiety.

As many times as you may feel angry or frustrated with your children, there is nothing like the fear of having a child go missing, especially if you have to come home from work and fight traffic before you can do a thing about it. My littlest one went missing today while I was at work and my almost-fifteen-year-old daughter was tending her. I was glad that she called me as soon as she realized that B was missing, so while I was on my way home I called all of the neighbors to see if she had stopped by for a visit. When we fist moved in to our neighborhood, B had a sly way of sneaking off as soon as my back was turned, and so we installed latches at the top of the doors, but she has recently figured out how to use the broom or other long handled tool to un-hook the latch.

My daughter was near a panic, and soon we had two neighbors out looking for her along with my two older children, but I still had the feeling that she was safe somewhere at home and they just needed to give the house another once-over, so I called Alex again and asked her to go through one more time and check every room in the house. Apparently my husband had the same feeling and so when Alex went through and still couldn’t find her, he asked her to check B’s room. When she said she wasn’t there, he told her to tell him what she saw in the room, and when she said there was a pile of blankets on the bed, he told her to move them, and sure enough, there she was, fast asleep right there in her own bed! Of course I got this news that she had been found just moments before I pulled into the driveway.

Since I have had the lovely experience of having children who like to sneak off, I have learned a few things:

  • Always check the inside of the house first — including closets, and under furniture, and especially under mounds of piled up blankets.
  • The second place to look is at neighbor’s houses, especially if your child has a little friend living next door or across the street.
  • Look for your child’s tricycle, bicycle, scooter, or anything else that they might have gone off with. If their tricycle is in front of a friend’s house, that is a really good place to check.
  • If you live two blocks or less away from a fast food restaurant with an indoor play structure, or if you have a neighbor with a trampoline, a swing set, or a play house, or if you live near a park check those places third.
  • If you spend even one minute looking in the wrong places, that is a one minute head start for your kid, so no matter where you look, it is always best if you have other people helping, even if it means getting the police involved.

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