Gone Missing

bekah Parenting Leave a Comment

When Tanner was 2 1/2, I went ahead and gave myself the worst Mother’s Day gift and lost him. You read that right- we lost him for the looooooongest + thirty minutes. You can read that stellar parenting post here.

Since then, I’ve pumped him {and now Ty} with our address, city, phone number, blood type, favorite band, etc. No but really, it made us aware of the importance of talking to our boys should they get lost, or contemplate running away. If they ran, I’m pretty sure Ty would make it to Bermuda before he realized what had happened, while Tanner would consider all angles and decide disappearing to his room would suffice.

At preschool, Tanner and Ty are encouraged to memorize their address, our names and phone numbers. Ty has recently taken to calling me Bekah in public. He thinks he’s real cool.

After Christmas we were browsing stores as a family. Tanner was by my side, then suddenly, he wasn’t. After yelling his name and scanning the room, I spotted Bryan at another store with Tanner at his side.

Please pause. Have you been there? That fleeting moment when your kid was there and now they aren’t? I’m telling you, time freezes and your heart pumps and nothing else matters.

Bud, you can’t disappear like that, I calmly said to our oldest. Ghhhh. That’s a lie.  I wasn’t calm. I was like, Hey, where did you go? What were you thinking? You scared the pee out of me! I looked super in control waving my arms like a crazy person.

Bryan untangled my hands from the air {he’s good for me that way} and plainly said, T, if you leave the store, just let me or mommy know where you’re going, and make sure you’re with one of us so we don’t think you’re lost. Cool?

How is he so good at that?

In reality, the where is our son question offered a foundation to discuss What To Do When You’re Lost- considering it had been a while since the Mother’s Day missing son saga.

What do you do if you look around and can’t find mommy or daddy?

Blank stares.

Awesome. Our kids will have to stay in Bermuda or their room forever.

Remember, you stay where you are and look for an adult that looks like a mommy, daddy, or grandparent – preferably not a creepy old man. You let them know you can’t find us and ask if they’ll help you.

Then what? We watch their faces.

We tell them our names and our address.

Good! Yes, and…?

And we give them your phone number?

Yes! I could hug them. Let’s review. 714… I consider tattooing our numbers on their arms.

The next morning we were at the swap meet and suddenly Sarah is by my side. Huge brown eyes and a six-year old smile, she couldn’t find her Nana. She was scared. She was lost. Mother’s Day years ago flooded back. Her Nana must be sick wondering where her precious grand-daughter was.

Sarah amazed us. She was calm. She didn’t cry. She knew her mama’s phone number. The boys welcomed her into the fold {I’m sure her all pink attire sold Ty} while we temporarily walked her to Guest Services and waited for her grandma to meet us.

Minutes later Sarah and her Nana were reunited. I couldn’t stop the tears. The fear of losing a child is unfathomable but this was watching beauty restored with relief, reality, and safe arms.

Your granddaughter is so brave, I told the bawling grandma. So brave. I hugged Sarah, and my heart broke and rejoiced. It broke for all the children who are lost and scared and looking for their parents. Rejoicing won. That day Sarah was reunited with her Nana, unharmed and all the wiser.

It’s a big world out there, and even bigger to our little ones. Let’s not assume they know what to do if they can’t find us. Let’s step in front of a possible dreaded occasion and make sure they are prepared with memorized addresses, names and phone numbers. It’s a harsh reality, but educating our sons and daughters could be the difference between life and death. We owe them the confidence of speaking for themselves, of finding us if lost.

For the rest of the days I hugged our sons tighter, found every reason to smooch their cheeks, and tell them, We love you. Even if you run away to Bermuda or your room.


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