Monday, January 18, 2010
I took my kids to the zoo today. It was crazy crowded due to school being out, but the weather was nice and Mason really wanted to go so we went. The day was going great, we saw all the animals, fed giraffes, rode the merry-go-round and played on the playground. That was when the day turned bad. The playground was insane. Kids were everywhere, all over each other. I wanted to let Mason play but I didn't want him to get lost in the crowd. So with McKinley in tow we climbed stairs and slid down slides, we played in the giant birds nest and Mason walked the high net to get inside the tree house. Just as we were about to leave Mason wanted to climb the climbing wall. This wall is designed so kids can climb to the top and over and then walk down the path back to their parents. My child, however, decided he was not going to walk by down the path but rather run across the wooded area and out of sight. As I yelled for him from below, he did not answer. He was not there. I bolted for the closest stairway and up to those woods. He must be playing a game, he's going to be right here I thought. But as I reached those woods he was not there. I began to panic. My friend who was with me stayed by our strollers in case he came back there, and for 10 long, panic stricken minutes I ran throughout that entire playground area, in every knook and cranny, in every hidden digging spot in the woods, down every path yelling out my childs name, hoping that someone would help me find him. I knew I couldn't melt down and cry. I had to keep my composure, I had to find him. All I could do was search and pray. I just kept say, "God I know you are big enough to bring him back to me safe and sound. Help me to find him or help him to find me." That is when I spotted him. He had started crying and some older girls were helping him climb down a net to the bottom level so he could find me. My friend saw him and quickly grabbed him. As I ran down to him I didn't know which emotion was going to show anger or relief. All I could do was hug him tightly and strap him into his stroller. Play time was over. With my children safe in the stroller we promptly left the zoo. As I strapped them into their car seats I thanked God for keeping Mason safe. I thanked him for being my calm and comfort in the most panicked moment of my life to date and I thanked God that I have another opportunity to teach my son about obedience and safety. Today I had to put my faith truly into practice. I had to have faith in God to bring me back my precious son and I had to have faith that God would keep me calm and sane so I could effectively search for him and God did. My kids are safe, they are napping. But my mind is reeling. I am still emotional. I am also very aware right now of all those parents whose kids went missing and were not found in 10 minutes, or 20 minutes or ever. My heart and prayers are with those parents today.