I check on my kids constantly. I’m a naturally anxious person, and it comes with the territory. When they’re snacking, I check to make sure they’re not choking. When they’re bathing, I check to make sure they’re not drowning. When they’re sleeping, I check to make sure they’re still breathing.
When we travel, I kick it up a notch. Because who needs trouble in a strange city or a foreign country, right? I watch them so closely, I almost don’t blink. And yet, I have twice managed to momentarily misplace my daughter on vacation.
The first time it happened, we were at the beach in England. It was a rare sunny day, and every square inch of sand was covered with people, towels, and toys. We were building a sand castle down by the water, and my daughter (who was four at the time) decided she needed another bucket. I let her walk alone back to our blanket to get it while I watched. One minute she was there, and the next she was gone. She turned up two minutes later—having veered slightly off-course, but they were two of the longest minutes of my life.
The next time we lost her was at freaking Disneyland, at the food court in Tomorrowland. My husband and daughter went to stand in line, while my son and I walked off to look for a table. At the last minute (without communicating to me his intention to do so), my husband sent my daughter after me. I thought she was with him. He thought she was with me. This time she was missing for five minutes.
Yes, we are still married. Thanks for asking.
I’ve learned my lesson. Now whenever we go somewhere big, crowded, or foreign, I make my kids wear I.D. bracelets with my cell phone number written inside (including the international dialing code when we are overseas). I coach them constantly. What should you do if you think you are lost? Don’t wander, stay in one place. Who should you ask for help if you think you are lost? Someone who looks like a mother. What should you say to this motherish-looking person? I’m lost, please help me call my Mom.
I’m sure it drives them nuts.
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