Tuesday, September 02, 2008

in the blink of an eye

I'm so happy to welcome Mama Tulip and her resounding voice to one plus two. It's hard to believe that I've never met or spoken to her beyond blogging and email given how much I care for her and how much her words of wisdom as a mother and as a daughter have meant to me over the past year and more. Thank you, MT for spending the day over here.

After leaving my dignity in the Tim Horton’s drive-thru on Friday morning, I was bound and determined to have a better day Saturday. With Dave busy putting the new floor in the living/dining room, I was parenting solo and wanted to do something fun with the kids. I decided to take them to a huge beachfront park in my hometown. It’s a bit of a drive, but there’s lots to do (read: it’s a good way to kill an afternoon). After feeding the kids a quick lunch, we donned hats and sunscreen, grabbed some cold bevies and got on our way.

Being Labour Day weekend, the area was packed and it was slim pickin’s as far as parking was concerned, but after a fucking thousand few spins around the block I managed to snag a spot in a prime location. Sweet!, thought I, and off we went.

We’d been at the park for about ten minutes when Oliver announced that he had to pee. This is classic Oliver – no matter what the destination the boy has to urinate upon arrival. Every. Time.
As we walked down the beach to the bathrooms we talked about what we’d do after Oliver peed; Julia wanted to take her shoes off and wade in the water, and since I could feel the sweat dripping down my back, I thought that was a FINE IDEA. Once in the bathroom, Oliver made a beeline for a stall, pushed open the door, stood in front of the toilet…
…and peed his pants.

“I peed in my pants!” he announced enthusiastically; clearly this was something he was quite proud of.

“Yeah, I see that, buddy,” I said weakly. Inside, however, I was screaming, I drove forty-five minutes only to have you piss yourself ten minutes after we get here?! WTF? And of course, I’d brought sunscreen and hats and drinks and money for ice cream, but I hadn’t brought a change of clothes for Oliver.

I called Dave as I herded the kids toward the car. “We’d been here all of ten minutes before Oliver peed his pants,” I said, bordering on whining. “What am I going to do now?”

Dave suggested I go to Value Village and get him a cheap pair of shorts there, which is exactly what I ended up doing. But instead of going back to the beach and spending half an hour looking for another parking spot, I decided (to the kids’ delight) to take them to a big park/splash pad instead. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, I bought them some snacks, they got wet and played at the park…a good time was had by all.

Until it was time to leave. I’d been standing under an apple tree watching them slide down a pole, but when I walked over to tell Julia it was time to go, Oliver was nowhere to be seen.
My eyes darted to the splash pad, but he wasn’t there. He wasn’t on the main play structure nor was he on the smaller one, and as I climbed the stairs to the middle of the main structure for a better vantage point I could feel hot tears pricking up behind my eyes. Losing Oliver is one of my biggest fears – he’s easily distracted and prone to taking off; he’s the kind of kid who could disappear even if you were looking right at him.

“Oliver!” I shouted. “OLIVER!” Below me on the spongy ground, I could hear Julia calling his name, too.

He didn’t come. I kept shouting and shouting, but he didn’t come.

I started to panic. Everything started spinning. The sounds around me – children’s laughter and squeals and mothers calling to their kids in cautionary tones – were echoing; I felt like I was falling down a well. All I could hear was the rising panic in my voice and my heart pounding inside my head. I was running now, shaking and running, circling the playground, my eyes scanning the soccer field, the tennis courts, the fence line by the street…

Oh god, I thought. Oh god oh god oh god. Where is he? WHERE IS HE? I felt sick.
And then I heard Julia shout, “There he is!”

I scanned the park again and spotted him, over by the parking lot, running toward me with a bewildered look on his face. I started off toward him, Julia beside me, and scooped him up in my arms, kissed his flushed cheek and whispered in his ear. “There you are,” I breathed. “Where were you?”

“I couldn’t find you, Mummy,” he said in a small voice. “I was lookin’ for you.”

We started toward the car, Julia holding my hand, Oliver safe in my arms. “Were you lost, buddy?” I asked. He nodded, and on the way home we talked about what to do when you’re lost.
I glanced at him in the rearview mirror many, many times on the way, my beautiful blonde-haired, fair-skinned boy, with his big eyes, wide grin and chipped front tooth. I was still shaky when we got home – hell, I was still shaky when I woke up the next morning.
A whole lot can happen in the blink of an eye.

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20 comments:

NannyOgg said...

{{{ HUGS }}}

Those moments are scary scary scary. I have had my share of them.

Glad he was ok.

Karen

Kyla said...

I left a comment yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared? Strange!

How terrifying. I've had moments just like that, too.

Chris said...

Yikes! Glad he was ok.

moo said...

how scary! Glad everything turned out ok ... (guess that it puts his whole "peeing in the pants" in perspective, huh?)

also ... it's always when I forget a change of clothes that Grayson has a blowout diaper/falls in mud/ jumps in the swimming pool fully clothed. That's a parenting law, I think.

motherbumper said...

I would have peed my pants if that happened. Gigi is the same as Oliver, so full of life, energy, and distraction. I'm thinking of having her duct taped to my leg - if you do the same, I think we could start a trend.

Eileen said...

When we get grey hairs, most of them will be caused by experiences like this.

Adult children should be required to pay all their mother's hairdresser's bills...

geenalyn said...

I hate those moments...Melyssa and Lucas are the masters of those moments in my house....

Ali said...

i've had only one moment like that. and it was one too many. i'm pretty sure my heart completely stopped when i couldn't find Josh.

toyfoto said...

We lost annabel at a party this summer. It was getting dark. I got panicked. We eventually found her and she was fine, and could see us the whole time. (Or atleast said she could).

*Heart in throat.

Mike said...

These are times you wish you had LoJack for kids. Something on their wrist that told you where they were,

Mine are teenagers, but I still panic a bit if I don't hear from them in a timely manner...

The Mrs. said...

I actually use a harness thing, with a monkey "backpack" for my oldest (he's 3) when we are out as he has a tendency to run away. He ran away from me in the mall once and in the airport once - both in the same week. I then bought the harness. Of course, I don't use it when we are at the park so he can actually run and play.
That's an awful feeling when you can't find your kid! I am glad he is alright!

Amanda said...

Yes, it really can. So grateful for this ending.

By the way, my nearly four year old has to pee every time she changes her underwear.

Annie, The Evil Queen said...

It is so terrifying when you loose sight of them. My little guy is so fast I never know how far he'll get. I'm glad Oliver wasn't far off.

womaninawindow said...

Sobering. Scary shit and sobering. Glad he was alright.

ourlittlefunnybunny said...

The worst feeling in the world. Makes your heart jump into your throat...glad all is ok.

Lisa b said...

oh my. My heart has stopped.
Thank god for the happy ending.

NotSoSage said...

I felt shaky just reading it.

Glad that you found each other again.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I know exactly how you felt. This happened to us this summer. On the beach. We lost my 3 yr old. It was the scariest 3-5 minutes of my life. Like having an out-of-body experience.

hugs

crazymumma said...

I hate those heart stopping moments. they hang suspended forever.

As to Oliver and his pee? i say become an incontinent old bat and live with him when he is a man. Revenge will be sweet.

kittenpie said...

That is SO scary! That is one of my greatest fears, and why I have to force myself not to hover, just stay in the vicinity. SO glad it tuned out okay.