Yesterday evening we went to Sonya's school picnic. It was an event that was scheduled for a couple weeks ago, but because it was snowing ash here for a week straight, the school thought it best not to have a big outdoor family function, and damage little lungs so early in life. Good move on their part. The girls were excited to go, especially Sonya. There was food, a bake sale and a little maze set up for the kids. It was behind the school on the blacktop/playground where they all eat lunch and have their recess, in an entirely enclosed area. The kids could just run around and have a good time. For the first time ever, Sonya was not glued to my side. Her friend Riley was there and they played, running after each other, tried to throw Frisbees, just general fun kid time. I even took the two younger girls to get food for us all, while Sonya played with Riley and her mother, Lee, kept an eye on them. I was excited to be there too, because it meant the possibility for me to make better friends with some of the other moms.
Andy showed up about half an hour before the picnic was to end. He left work early so he could at least get there for some of it, and the girls were thrilled to see him. As was I. It's easier keeping an eye on three kids at a crowded picnic, when you have two people doing it. Sonya decided to go over to the playground with Riley. We said that was fine, because Lee was going over there as well. Plus there was nothing but families with kids around, so we felt safe. Andy finished his food and I changed Lana's diaper. She wanted to go over with Sissy to the playground, so Andy took her over there while I packed everything, plus the baby, back into the stroller.
When I walked over to where they were, Sonya was having a blast climbing all over the playground equipment. Andy was pushing Lana in the swing, not ten feet away. I decided to walk around to the other side of the playground, where Lee was standing to talk to her. However, as I started walking, Riley came up to her and they started to leave. By the time I got around to the other side, I didn't see Sonya anymore. I thought for sure she was just on the opposite side or going down the slide. I looked over at Andy who shook his head that he didn't see her either. I started to call out for her and got nothing. I didn't panic right away and Andy continued to push Lana, obviously not worried yet either. I looked around the parameter of the playground and didn't see her anywhere. THEN I started to panic. Andy brought Lana over and we called for Sonya, once again to no response.
I should tell you here that one of my biggest problems in life is my overactive imagination that likes to go to worst case scenarios, ALWAYS. If Andy ever calls me on his way home from work and he's not home when I think he should be, I immediately have him in a car accident off a cliff on Coldwater Canyon. I'm pretty sure this is something I got from my mother. Thanks mom! I was like this as a kid too. If my parents were ever late coming home, I thought for sure something bad happened to them. I'd like to be able to control it, but I can't. In some ways I think I do it, because I want to prepare myself for the worst. Then nothing is ever as bad as I think it is and I can handle it better. Who knows? Just part of my craziness.
After not seeing her anywhere around the playground, Andy started to walk to the front of the picnic near where the food was. About that time I thought I heard something on the loudspeaker that sounded like "Sonya", but I was in my own world of panic at the time, I barely heard it. Apparently, Andy being the more level headed one, did hear it. I called for her one more time and then started looking around to try and figure out where someone could have taken her, because again, worst case scenario. Especially because of the recent story about that poor Jaycee girl. That's all I could think about. Then I see this guy and I started to size him up to decide if he's there with a family, or if he's creepy, and he tells me they were just saying Sonya's name over the loudspeaker. Okay, not creepy. Sorry guy! I start to walk in that direction with the little girls in the stroller and I see Andy walking toward me carrying a crying Sonya. It was the most terrifying ten minutes of my life.
After she calmed down, we asked her what happened. She had been playing on the playground, but when Riley disappeared with her mom, she looked over to where our blanket had been to look for Andy and me and saw it was gone. Even though Andy thought she had seen him ten feet away at the swings, she hadn't. At some point of me walking around to the other side of the playground, she must have run by me and we just missed each other. She ran to the front of the picnic, scared that we had left and found a teacher who helped her. Looks like I passed the worst case scenario gene down to her. Great. We made a point of telling her we would NEVER leave her anywhere, but that if she ever did get lost, that was the right thing to do. Find an adult you trust to help you. She understood and after many hugs and a bath she was tucked into her bed safe last night.
Andy and I talked about it after they were all asleep and he told me I shouldn't get so panicky in those situations. I told him there was no way for me NOT to. In fact, I challenge ANY mother out there not to get panicky in that situation. Every mother I know seems to have a story like this. I know I got lost once when I was about Sonya's age for about the same amount of time. Both my mom and I were panicked. If you have younger kids, prepare yourself for this, because it will happen at some point. Hopefully this won't happen to us again, but if it does, I'll try to keep my shit together better. It's a good thing Andy was there to be the logical one, but that's what Dad's are for. We Moms are just more emotional by nature and it's impossible for us to imagine something happening to our babies. Although, now I'm going to be the mom who lost her kid at the school picnic. Yay. I'm sure the PTA will be happy to have me aboard!
At least it all turned out fine. I partially needed to write this story to get it out of my head, because even though it ended fine, I couldn't stop thinking last night about what if it hadn't. So this is somewhat therapeutic for me. Thanks for being my therapists everyone! And if you have kids, remember to watch them at ALL times. They can slip by you so easily. Even with TWO parents watching.