Lost at the YMCA

It happened in less than a minute. The whole scene played out so fast yet it has left a huge imprint on my heart. My youngest son and I were enjoying a snack in between his toddler classes at the YMCA. I was chatting with a friend and trying to steer my son in the direction of his next class. He was there – I turned – he was gone.I’ve been playing the scene over and over in my mind – what could I have done differently? I recall the feelings of panic that immediately set in. I hoped that in the next second he would come into view, as my mind frantically tried to search for a plan. I should see him by now – he wasn’t that far ahead of me – how did he get away so fast? I searched the most dangerous option first – the hallway to the outside doors – NO. I searched where he SHOULD have gone, his next class – NO. The gym – NO. Oh Lord – where IS he? I started to ask people if they’d seen my son. In reality only about 20 or 30 seconds had passed. 20 or 30 seconds too long for any mother.

The plan my mind had formulated took me once again to the most dangerous place – the doorway to outside. As I turned the corner, my face a mask of panic and fear, my heart full of dread, my mind a mixture of the most frightening thoughts…there he was. My little angel in the gray sweater, walking down the hallway towards me. He was safe, I could see him, he was beautiful, I would be holding him in 2 seconds.
I said to him, “Where did you go? Mommy couldn’t see you! I was so scared!”
He stepped behind a big red pole and said, “I was hiding.”
Should I yell, scold, hug, cry, or laugh? That day I was able to pull off a calm, swallow-my-heart-before-I-freak reaction – who knows what it would have been any other day!
He had never hidden from me in a public place before, so our relationship entered the You’re Never Getting Even The Slightest Bit Of Distance Away From Me Again phase! The nightmares of losing him have started. I now have a greater understanding that he is, in fact, becoming very independent and wanting to do more on his own. I’m thankful that there is Someone bigger than me or or my son who is watching over him, protecting him, comforting us both through the scary times of growing up. It’s a great feeling to have the maker of the universe helping me raise my sons – He can see where I can’t and He knows every tiny detail of what’s happening around us in our days. Thank God because I need all the help I can get!

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