And the Oscar for Best Actress in a Drama goes to…

I lost Addison at the soccer game on Monday night.  For 20 minutes.  And try as I might to find the funny in that, I’m really just not there yet.

You know what parents always say, “I just looked away for a minute.”  Well, it was definitely a minute.  Or less.  One second she was standing at the fence behind me with a little friend, and the next she was gone.  After calmly scanning the field and checking all the standard hiding places (e.g., the bathroom), there was absolutely no sign of her.  I started trolling the school’s campus, calling for her and wondering where that little girl had gotten to.  But as the minutes ticked by and every new spot turned up empty. I started to get hysterical.  This could not be happening.  Not. On. My. Watch.

Two fabulous fathers posing as baseball coaches saw me near the playground.  I suppose the look of abject terror clued them in.  “You lose somebody? We’re on it.” Cell phones clicked open and pickup trucks moved out to canvas the grounds.  God love a small town where everyone knows everyone.

Ultimately, we did find her.  And I got to have my Lifetime movie moment.  You know the one where I finally see her and drop to my knees sobbing to gather her in my arms?  Truly, I expect a call from the Academy within 72 hours.

It turns out, she had gone to the far side of the soccer field into the trees with her friend.  According to Addison, she was being held under duress by the 6-year-old.  When the other girl’s mother finally located them, she couldn’t see me.  So she (correctly) found her father on the soccer field and copped a post-game bag of Goldfish and a juice box.

I guess I’m still a little embarrassed about calling in the Calvary and letting Crazy Mommy come out to play.  But really, there’s nothing more horrifying than the realization that your baby could be gone.  For good. 

Quote of the night from the big brother:

“Addison, if somebody is trying to make you go away from Mommy or Daddy, you’ve got to fight, yell, kick and scream.  It’s better to be safe than nice every time.”

That child…I swear to God, he takes it all into his 8-year-old brain and turns it into his own personal life vest.  Here’s hoping he’s always just around the corner to keep his risk-taker of a sister from diving off the side of the ship.

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14 Responses

  1. Wow! That’s scary. I’m so glad you found her. It sounds like you’re in a great little town with some very good people. You should not feel embarrassed at all. You did what you should have done. And I’m so impressed with Griffin! What a smart kid!

    • Julie — I guess most parents have had the experience of losing sight of a child in a grocery store or park. But thankfully, they always seem to turn up on the next aisle or set of swings. When this was going on, I just kept thinking, “I forget to tell her, ‘If someone tries to take you, you scream, My name is Addison Kelley and this is NOT my father!‘” Because that’s what I told Griffin to do (probably scaring him half to death in the process). This, my friend, is why oldest children are so screwed up, lol.

  2. Man, you may be saying you haven’t found the funny yet but you’re doing a lot better with it than I would. Just reading this about your child whom I don’t know has my heart pounding.

    • KLZ — Nearly 48 hours after the fact, it still makes my heart race!

  3. Reading your story gave me a flashback to when I lost Connor at a Durham Bulls game last year (he was only 2). I just looked away for a minute to help someone else’s crying child and he was gone. Pure terror for me! Luckily he didn’t realize he was lost and we found him through what could only be divine intervention.

    I’m going to face my fears and try another DBAP game next weekend. Hopefully nobody else needs me to help them because I’m not taking my eyes off of my son!

    I really enjoy your blog, Laura! Glad to know I’m not alone out there!

    • Kerry!!!! How are you girl? I’m so glad you ‘stopped by’ to check out my latest little creative endeavor. In addition to just needing something “of my own,” I am also really hoping that other mothers can relate to what I write and take a teeny, tiny bit of solace in the fact that there’s so many of us out here trying to keep all the balls in the air without going totally insane! Good luck at the game…when Grif was that age, I actually considered getting one of those child harness thingys, but I never could quite bring myself to do it…

  4. Uh yeah. Mom lost me at the mall when I was like five for what I am certain was more than 20 minutes. Feel no guilt. I turned out fine. I’m also positive we will lose Luke at some point. It’s like a parental right of passage.

    I would just like to say, constructively, that I think the version of this story that you told me on the phone today was far more dramatic and heart-pounding then the one you’ve given us here. I was almost in tears. It wasn’t a different story, it’s just you set it up differently. You didn’t try to make it funny. Because it wasn’t funny to you then. And I think it’s good for your writing to practice all of your voices: the funny one, the serious one, the motherly one, the writerly one, etc.

    I know you well and so I can say with confidence that your regular old, unedited Laura voice is freaking (I wanted to drop an f bomb but then I think your blog won’t let me. Such a good mom) fascinating and hilarious. You need to record yourself telling the stories and transcribe them verbatim without any edits and I think you’ll see how these stories lose a little in translation (not that this wasn’t well-written or full of emotion…it’s just a little different than your in person voice, which again..I’m telling all of you…is grand).

    Now I’m not a fan of posting constructive criticism in the comments, but you said I should so there it is. 😉

    • Girl, I can take it. I actually appreciate you getting this particular ball rolling. It’s excellent advice and I plan to give it a shot. We’ll see how that works out for me 🙂

  5. Ugh…Yep, we have had a handful of these. Including one at a really crowded camp-ground. Where my inner “he just got turned around and you’ll find him in a few minutes” inner voice was being progressively screamed down by the “MY GOD WHERE IS HE????” voice and I was fighting EXTERNAL screaming and hysteria with every ounce of willpower.

    Little turkey had gone into the tent. To read a book. With his headphones on, so he couldn’t hear us calling for him.

    But I’m not scarred now. Nope. Nuh uh.

    And that’s cause I have him on a leash.

    • A LEASH! Now that’s what I need….

  6. love the quote from big brother…he sounds very sweet

    • I may be a tad biased, but I think he’s the coolest, kindest kid on the planet. Thanks 🙂

  7. I like the sutle details of your stories that really give it depth like “fathers posing as coaches”

    that’s the kind of stuff that makes a great writer, the cool ways to say “two coaches” by using your imagination

    Nice Laura!

    • Dusty — I like a person who can appreciate nuance…especially when it comes to my writing. I can’t help it, I’m just biased like that. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment/compliment (and for continuing to read)!

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