The whole family went to IKEA on Saturday.
No, we weren’t on drugs, we had a plan and mission.
Since the unfortunate bathroom accident of 2012 we’ve had to make some choices about what we’d like to do in the aftermath.
So we went with visions of Allen wrenches and meatballs floating in our imaginations.
When we got there we got to work with our “To-Do list”, their paper tape measure and putt-putt golf pencils. We looked at couches, at shelves, at rooms too small to be real and stopped at tables.
Swedish for “the place where my 11yo disappeared in the crowds of people and caused her parents to FREAK THE HELL OUT”.
For 20 minutes we searched, asked employees, tried to figure out where she was and why she wasn’t contacting us. The fact that SHE KNEW our phone numbers and could call us anytime was pounding in the front my brain.
Why wasn’t she calling me?
Was something keeping her from calling?
WHO WAS KEEPING HER FROM ME?
There are no words to describe the panic in my heart. I couldn’t even run around looking for her because of my screwed up eyes and wheelchair-bound body.
I don’t know if I can express what it was like to know that my child was alone out there and there was nothing I could physically try to do.out it.
When Nathaniel shouted “THERE SHE IS!” and she came around the corner with an employee, my tears didn’t quit.
They got worse.
I cried at the reunion. With relief. Shaking with it.
It took hours for the ball in my stomach to go away. I tried to hide it from the kids (it wasn’t very successful) but the agonizing pain in my body was partly from the unbearable pain in my head that I couldn’t shake.
But she was back. It took about 20 minutes. It felt like 20 years.
I hope it never happens to another child but it will.
It does all the time.
Maybe these tips can help.
- If you have a camera-phone take a picture of you and your child together before you enter a crowded place so you have current clothing and id to show.
- So these are temporary tattoos you can put on your child in case they are ever lost.
- If you won’t do a temporary tattoo you can get a wristband too.
- These are long-range walky-talky radios for kids who might not have a cell phone.
- Have a place set up for you to meet if you ever get separated.
This can show you that even a trip to IKEA can end up being life-changing. Take every precaution. You can never be too protective when your child’s life is on the line.