The 11 Stages You Go Through When You Think You Lost Your Child In Public
I don’t care if you wear your child until they are 15, or if you are seriously in the running for Parent of The Year. At some point, you will lose sight of your child in public, and the resulting feels will be overwhelming and heart pounding. If you think it won’t happen to you, you are extremely wrong. This has happened to me twice. Once, it wasn’t even my kid. I was watching a child who was about two, and his mother handed me his leash. I laughed and made a hilarious joke about not leashing him because no two-year-old was going to outsmart me, to which my friend arched an eyebrow at me and said something like, “Oh, you WILL need this. He is a wily, wily little sumbitch.”
10 minutes into our playground trip and the kid slipped his leash and hid in the tunnel slide for five terrifying minutes before I found him there, hissing at passersby.
The second time I lost sight of a kid it was my own, and it was recent. There was a petting zoo in the park near my house, which I opted to observe from behind the fence while my daughter fed bunnies and chickens. You can judge me if you want but that goat looked surly-I don’t do surly livestock. Anyway, I lost sight of my child in the swarm of poo smeared children, and even though the entire area was literally fenced off, I couldn’t help but imagine the worst.
I hadn’t thought of it recently until reading this post on Reddit, where a mother relayed the adrenaline fueled guiltstorm she weathered when she lost her own child for a few minutes at a public park. The reaction there was exactly this: “it happens to everyone.” It will happen to you, and this is what it will feel like:
1. First, you scan the crowd, expecting to see your child’s smiling face:
2. Why do all of these children seem to be wearing exactly what your child is wearing? Curse those bastards at Garananimals!
3. That’s when it hits you: you can’t see your child ANYWHERE.
4. This is the kind of thing that happens to other parents, not to you. Your heart sinks.
5. Immediately, you begin to think of unsavory characters and worst-case scenarios.
Really. Scenarios that don’t even make sense.
6. You begin to fully freak out.
7. All you can think of is your poor child, lost and alone.
8. It’s clear: you are a terrible parent.
9. You need someone to help you handle this.
10. Finally, you break down completely, frantic over your child’s whereabouts.
11. And that’s when your child wanders up all nonchalant, asking if you have pretzels or a juice or something. You are so relieved that you don’t care how dumb you look.