It has happened to me. I lost my child today for about 3.7 minutes. And it was the longest 3.7 minutes of my entire life. Seems even longer than the entire 106 days she was in the hospital.
Here's the scenario....
We were at the school picnic today and having a ball. They had Jumping Jacks and games and food. All in all it was a really nice set up that they put on. Matt and I were sitting with a couple of other parents on some blankets. Caitlyn was running back and forth to the games with some of her little friends. She was typically gone about 5 or less minutes each time. And everytime, I was able to see where she was at. Except for this one time.
She and Alexis were going to get face painting done and tatoos. Fine by me, I will see you in a few minutes. Just as we had been doing. I turned around to put some stuff back in our backpack or something. When I looked up, I couldn't see her and Alexis anymore. Now, I didn't freak out right away. I figured they were at the table getting painted on. So I told Matt, I was going to go over to the table to see her. I stood up to leave, and Alexis comes running back to the blanket.....WITHOUT Caitlyn. Now, I fucking freak out. I tell Matt to stay at the blanket so when she comes back someone is there. I go off to look for her at the face painting and tatoo table. No Caitlyn. I walk around the carnival once. No Caitlyn. Now, I am about to panic, but I stop and think of what I need to do before I lose control.
I see another little girl's father who knows me and Cate. And I ask him if he has seen her. He said no and immediately said that he would start looking. I also ask him to tell the other parents that I can't find her. Matt said he would start looking inside the school as the doors were open and the kids were allowed to go in and out.
Now is when I am about to lose control. All I can think is that these few hundred kids out on this playground is heaven for some sicko. But I refrain from panicking as I know that I can't do that if I am going to find this child quickly....and because I don't want to look like a complete ass in front of the entire school.
I go to the DJ and tell him that he needs to announce that Caitlyn should go to the swings. He tells me he will when the song is over. Yeah, that's not going to work for me but thanks for playing. So I tell him that she is only 4 years old and I can't find her that he needs to stop the song and do it now. He looked at me like I was crazy, but only for a brief moment. I think the tip off for him had something to do with the fact that my hands were clenched into fists?
So he makes the announcement. I look around for a couple more seconds then realize that I should probably go over to the swings in case she heard the announcement and heads over there.
Lo and behold. I go to the swings and there is my girl. Smiling at me cause she is excited that they said her name on the microphone. I quickly scoop her up and bathe her with kisses. And my heart finally stops pounding and I no longer feel the urge to cry hysterically. Turns out she was in the jungle gym and I couldn't see her in there. And of course, I realized later that it didn't occur to me to actually look in there in the first place.
Then I walk around so that I can let all of the people know that I have located her that were looking for her. I must say though, that the other parents were all over that shit with me and were scouring the playground looking for her. Which really made me feel good when it was over with.
Amazing how long those few minutes felt for me though. And I really hope that I never have to relive those few minutes ever again.