That moment when you realized you have failed. Miserably. You have just made the biggest mistake and in that instant you can never take it back. Ever. I know it is typical, in fact almost ritual in its own right of passage in motherhood to make these mistakes, so why does it still feel so unacceptable?
A fall. A lost child. An unlocked cabinet.
You have one of two outcomes. A close call and you live to parent another day. Or the unimaginable. Most often, they become nothing more than lessons in life and even a comedic story to laugh about years later. For me it was a close call, but I’m not laughing yet.
I had been home sick for two days. The laying in bed 24 hours with the exception of a shower kind of sick. By the 48th hour I’m feeling strong enough to pick up Amelie early from DayCare to play outside in this gorgeous 85 degree winter weather. I still wasn’t feeling well, but I wanted to be with Amelie.
After daycare we made a stop at the grocery store. My husband had taken the reigns of the household while I was incapacitated, and I figured I could make a nice gesture by picking up some needed items and a few goodies for him. Good thing it is the thought that counts because just after making it past the produce section I immediately regretted my decision. Still, we were here so I made it quick. Nelson will be home soon, he can bring the groceries in from the car. Wait. Milk, eggs, and fresh fruit. Damn it.
I brought Amelie inside, so I could grab the groceries I needed and left the front door open so I could hear her inside. I figured she may come out to the walkway as she often does, which leads directly to me. Let’s see….this bag…uuuuh this one…oh and the guava! Done. I walk back inside, throw the bags down on the counter and immediately start scanning.
No sign of Amelie.
I circle around the main area of the house…no Amelie. I check the bathroom…her room…her favorite spots in my room, my bathroom.
No sign of Amelie.
I run to the backyard and gallop from side to side. I am panicked.
Now I am realizing…no sound of Amelie.
Omg JFC the front door. I’m in the very side corner of the back yard and sprint to the front of the house. Thinking….is she lost in the neighborhood? Could someone have picked her up? Have I lost my child from the confines of our own home?
Im running. I’m calling her. I’m trying to visually absorb as much surface area as possible with the little red bullseye in the corner of my eye. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep. And then BEEEEP!
She is wondering down the middle of the street. Smack dab in the middle of the road making a bee line towards the cross street a few houses away from me.
AMELIE! I blew out my lungs. I sprouted a ducks butt and I flew. Too bad the Olympics are in Russia because I’m pretty sure I just earned gold.
I made sure to run through the street arms flailing incase any car came around the corner in her direction…they would at least see the crazy lady. She stopped and was for sure startled. She was a bit scared and a lot disappointed I abruptly ended her big girl excursion.
You know how your parents were so mad at you for scaring them? I couldn’t even muster any anger or frustration towards her. I was just so angry with myself. So so so stupid. What was I thinking. I literally left the door on purpose thinking it was better to keep an ear on her. Instead she managed to slip right past me at the front of the car while I was unloading at the rear. At least that is the only thing I can figure. I dunno, I don’t really care. In the end I left the door open and was inside the house for a few minutes (looking for her all the while) as she walked straight into the street and onwards like a little hobo walking along the train tracks. She was one house away from the intersection. It is just an image that will forever be burned in my eyelids.
We sat inside, Amelie non the wiser. Not a single car passed while I was unloading groceries, while I was looking for Amelie, or for several minutes after we were inside. Soon after as I sat in silence I could hear the inappropriate speeding of cars passing in the street. I never paid much attention to them until now. Now they seemed deafening. Daddy received a text demanding his presence at home. He was quite shocked but was more able to laugh at it. I cried quietly in bed that night.
There are few things you could ever imagine until you experience them. I’ve had close calls on the road, lost my engagement ring once, even had a close friend go missing.
Nothing compares to the feeling of being a terrified parent. Nothing.
Like I said, lesson learned. We live to parent another day, that much wiser.