My baby sister and me. circa 1993

Over breakfast, I was texting with a friend as she was describing to me her account of panic this morning. Her 4 year old was missing from his bed when she went to check on him in the morning. After frantically searching the house, he was discovered (with a smile) hiding behind his bedroom door.

Unfortunately, I know her exact feeling all too well. I was seriously surprised when she told me it was her first time feeling that anxiety.

I’ve felt it many times as a parent, and even as a big sister.

It’s definitely the scariest feeling ever, to think that you have lost a child and your mind goes straight to worst case scenario.

Her dilemma lasted a minute and a half.

I shared 2 different stories with her involving Riley (the wandering child) and one about my little sister, Lala that lasted much longer than a minute and a half.

A long long time ago, when my sister was about Zoie’s age, my family and I went on a Thanksgiving weekend trip to the beach. At the hotel, my parents sent me and my two sisters down the hall to fetch a pail of ice. I was about 13 years old, so I should have been able to handle the task. We got to the ice machine, no problem, and as my other sister and I were figuring the machine out, I turned around to see where Lala was. She was in the elevator (!!) and before I could reach her to get her out of the elevator, the doors had closed and she was gone. I’m pretty sure she waved to me… I had lost my little sister in an elevator, she was too little to even know her name, it was my fault and she was gone.

I was panicking so much, I can’t really remember exactly what I did to look for her, I just remember not having any luck so we had to run and tell my parents. I could tell that my Mom’s initial reaction was the same as mine (panic), but all I could think was (1) that she was going to kill me and (2) that I deserved it.

It felt like an eternity, but it must have easily been about 10 minutes before we were in the lobby and a maid was carrying my sister to the front desk. Somehow, that elevator was en route to the maid floor and luckily she was greeted by a kindly maid and not some freaky child abductor like I had imagined (remember: worst case scenario).

Now that I think back on it, the panic I had felt is just the same as the panic I feel when my own¬† child goes missing for a moment on the playground. Except for now, I can’t imagine my heart being able to handle those feelings for a whole 10 minutes.

We, as parents try to keep our children safe and sound while out and about, even to the point of locking them in strollers and carts, against their very vocal protests otherwise. We tuck them in their beds at night and pray that in the morning we will see their smiling faces, in the backs of our heads remembering scary stories we read about or heard on the news. We try so hard to be careful and avoid scary situations involving our children, but even in our homes the panic can strike.

One thing I realized today, is just how much courage it takes to be a parent. Because losing them, for just a moment makes you almost pee your pants in fear. It’s scarier than any zombie, psycho killer or Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. I never have considered myself a brave person until my realization today.

Gratefully, everyone has ended up happy and safe in my experiences.

My point to this scary story is this…
 Parents, you can add COURAGE to your long list of virtues.
xo

<3, Tabi :D

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