Saturday, May 26, 2012
Yesterday I woke up to bright blue skies and a steadily climbing temperature! The day was blistering hot by 10 am with no relief in sight. Although there was a hardy breeze, I knew it wouldn't be enough to keep us cool. I decided that it would be the perfect day to take the kids to the water park. Since my husband was sick I figured I'd leave Preston with him. The park is just too big for me to watch all of them satisfactorily. So during Preston's nap my two oldest and I snuck out for a day of fun in the sun.
We walked the short distance together and I didn't have one issue with them listening to my instructions. I had high hopes that this visit would go off without a hitch...I should have known better. Outings that start off that great always end in disaster - it's Murphy's Law or something.
Anyway, we arrived at the park entrance and had to step carefully around the sun bathers. Once we successfully navigated the minefield of bodies, my son dashed towards the park as fast as his legs could carry him and was in the water before I could remove his shoes and shirt.
I called to my giggling son and was soon in a wrestling match - I yanked and pulled at his dripping wet clothing articles and rifled through my bag for the sunscreen. My daughter played beside me and seemed content to hum to herself. While I was preoccupied with slathering lotion on her brother she took the opportunity to go exploring. I happened to catch her fleeing frame out of the corner of my eye, and after asking a fellow mom to keep an eye on my son, I was in hot pursuit. By the time I'd arrived at where I saw her last, she was gone. It was as though she'd disappeared into thin air. Only mere minutes had passed since I lost sight of her - it just didn't make sense.
I darted towards the busy parking lot, skirting in between cars, and calling her name - the annoyance in my voice abruptly turned frantic as the reality of the situation began to sink in. She was nowhere to be found. My stomach inched it's way towards my throat and I could taste the bitter bile of its contents. I stood motionless in the middle of the parking lot - a deer in the proverbial headlights.
Worst case scenarios ran through my mind without invitation. What if someone took her? It was the only explanation that made sense. How else would she vanish so suddenly? I did my best to hold the panic inside but it was bubbling up anyway, escaping my throat in hitches and gasps.
I was dialing my husband when I noticed that the YMCA's main entrance was open. Near tears and completely breathless I sprinted into the building. I stopped short when I saw her little frame playing with the candy machines. I covered my mouth and stifled a sob. The lady at the front desk smiled warmly at me and said, "I was keeping an eye on her, I figured someone was missing her". I could only nod in gratitude as I scooped my daughter up and crushed her to my chest. I did my best not to cry in relief and managed to escape with only a few wayward tears to spoil the attempt.
"Eden! Don't you ever leave the park without me again, do you understand?" I whispered at her.
"Okay Mommy, can I have some candy?" Not a snowballs chance in hell I wanted to snap, instead I said nothing and we returned to the park where I followed her around just like a helicopter parenter might...
The rest of our time at that blasted water park was uneventful, but when the day grew long and my kids finally tuckered themselves out, I was more than ready to leave. I packed them up and took their hands as we headed for the safety of home. Gabriel chattered non-stop about the friends he'd made and Edie...well she complained the whole way back about my obvious oversight in neglecting her candy needs.