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I Lost My Daughter

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Over the weekend, I lost my daughter for ten minutes in a big crowd. It was the most scared I have ever been in my entire life.

woman looking for daughter

momlogic's Julie: On Friday night, I went to the opening ceremonies for my kids' Little League. It was held at a local park and there were about 300 people there. My 6-year-old daughter and I left my son with his coach, then went to find a place to sit on the grassy area around the baseball field. I noticed that the grass was wet, so we decided to go get a blanket from the car (which was parked clear on the other side of the park -- about a five-minute walk from where we were).

Just as we started heading that way, a woman from school saw me and stopped me for a quick question. I saw my daughter walk ahead and called for her to stop. It seemed like she was heading in the direction of her brother. There were a lot of kids playing tag so I (stupidly) figured she went to join them.

In the next two or three minutes while this woman was talking to me, I kept looking up and around frantically, and she finally asked me if I was looking for someone. I said, "I don't see my daughter." She smiled and said, "Well, she couldn't have gone far." I excused myself and went to search for my little girl.

The only thing was, she was nowhere to be found. I went over to where the kids were playing tag: No luck. I found her brother, but he hadn't seen her. Meanwhile, I was getting more and more panicky. I was screaming her name as loudly as I could. I went to the snack bar, then ran through the crowd again, shouting her name. I didn't see her. She was gone.

Gone.

So many things flooded through my mind. I thought of Somer Thompsonthe little girl who had run ahead of her brother and sister on the way home from school and was then kidnapped and murdered. I thought of Chelsea King, who had been raped and killed while jogging in a park like this one.

My calls to my daughter got louder, more frantic. My husband was out of town, so I was there all alone. I asked another mother to help me look.

I was praying for the best, while fearing the worst.

In desperation, I decided to head over to my car. It was parallel-parked at the side of a busy street, and you had to climb about fifty steps to get to it. Plus, it was on the opposite end of the park, where it was dark and secluded. There was no way my daughter would have walked there alone. Or so I thought.

As I approached my vehicle, it was so dark I couldn't see a thing. I unlocked the car with my key remote, and the back lights flashed on and off. That's when I saw her standing there, right next to the car, all alone on the side of a busy street.

My daughter was safe. I burst into tears, and my body soon shook with heavy sobs.

I was bawling hysterically as I asked my 6-year-old WHY she would have walked to the car all by herself. Why didn't she wait for Mommy? Didn't she hear me calling? She was so startled by me crying that she started crying hysterically, too. She could never really tell me WHY she had done it. And of course I placed the blame on myself: Why had I allowed her to walk off?

I am completely overprotective. I've warned my kids about kidnappers and predators. I've told them about Somer Thompson. But no matter how many times I had warned her, my daughter still took a five-minute walk in a dark park alone. So obviously I have not done my job. That haunts me.

I am thankful that my story had a happy ending, but I learned firsthand how quickly a child can slip away.

Click here for 10 Ways NOT to Lose Your Kids, by safety expert Pattie Fitzgerald.

Have you ever lost your kids in a crowd?


next: Should Kids See 'Alice in Wonderland'?
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
tennmom March 8, 2010, 12:26 PM

I remember the panic the couple of times I lost sight of one of my daughters.
Now that they are 10 & 12, they have cell phones. If 1 of their phones isn’t charged, we use 2-way radios if out in public. Those things were priceless on our trips to Disney.
There are several models with a clip, some that even have GPS systems.

Wendi March 8, 2010, 12:59 PM

I am glad that your daughter is ok. It is so scarry to loose track of your kids. I am very over protective as well, even though my 2 oldest are teens, they are not allowed to walk off in crowded places. I want parents to remember that even though your kids are older, they can still be kidnapped. I make sure that I keep all of them by my side and safe.

wendy March 8, 2010, 5:11 PM

I am an over protective mother. I think we have to be. I have to watch my son at all times because of his autism and he can take off. I have MS so I have to be way over over protective since I cant just run after them when they take off. In big crowds such as malls, Disney land and so on I have used the back packs with the harness attachment. So it does not look obtrusive and they are at arms reach. Having them wear a whistle so they can blow it if they get lost. Also blowing this whistle will ward off the attacker as well since it draws attention. In large crowds I also pin a badge Id on them with my name and number if they are lost. We have to take these steps in this horrid world we live in. It is better to be safe then sorry.

Cheryl March 9, 2010, 4:35 AM

I had an experience last year. A new little girl moved into town, a town of 600 or so. She lived across the street and around the corner. My daughter doesn’t even play outside without me physically seeing her. This little girl came to get my daughter to go to her house. I needed to run to town so I went to tell the girl’s Mother and to my horror, she said, “I thought they were at your house.” I was horrified and frantic and my legs felt like cement as I was running around and getting my neighbors to all help. The little girl took my daughter to see her cousins house~it was not too terrible close and they were even on scooters~had to go down a HUGE hill. I was about to call law enforcement. I was so scared that day.

New Mexico March 9, 2010, 11:17 AM

My daughter was taken by someone who worked at her school, a cheer volunteer on a day not scheduled. When I called the school to make sure she made it to the after care program and they had not seen her, I flipped out. When I finally found her 30 minutes later with the coach, her only answer was “It is not my responsibility, she followed me”. WOW, talk about shocked! From a mother to a mother if any child is lost or in the wrong place, is it not our maternal obigation to return them to there proper place!???

tarbar May 24, 2010, 5:19 PM

I was a wanderer when I was little; my mom tried to use those child-leashes once, promptly realized how ridiculous a concept they are and decided she’d take the problem of my wandering off into her own hands. Now, my mother is the type who can’t go anywhere without seeing someone she knows, so one day at the supermarket, after bumping into one of her friends, she decided today was the day to teach Little Me a lesson. I wandered off, true to form, and she had her friend come up behind me and snatch me up. I was hysterical, of course; her response? “If that wasn’t my friend you’d be dead now! Stay with me and don’t wander off!”

Extreme? Perhaps. But effective? Undoubtedly. I’m almost 19, and I had trouble going places without my mom until about a year and a half to two years ago.


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