Two things happened today: I lost my three-year-old’s bunny (aka her greatest comfort in life and the single most important thing we need to make her calm down or go to sleep). Disaster – this kid will not even consider sleeping without said bunny which has been so loved, it no longer resembles a bunny and looks more like a tattered piece of smelly cloth. Actually, bunny and I are a little alike: loved but tattered...
Anyway, then I lost my three-year-old. As in the cute kid in this picture (she was a teeny baby when this photo was taken). The latter is clearly much worse, but if you were to witness the epic meltdown that occurred after we tried to tell her that bunny had, um, gone to London (my husband’s idea), you’d understand why it comes close.
Anyway, back to my child. We went to the local sushi train – it was a mid-week treat. I went to pay the bill while I kept half an eye on the kids and when I’d finished paying (less than a minute), she was gone. I ran in every direction calling her name. Nothing. I screamed her name. People started to stare. I started to really panic. She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone. Two lovely women rushed up to me and asked what she was wearing. I don’t know these women, but it gives me goosebumps thinking about how incredibly kind they were to me today.
After a few minutes (it felt like hours), she appeared. It felt like she appeared out of nowhere. Standing there still holding her chopsticks confused as to why her mother had just burst into tears. I apologised to the kind women for my emotional outburst. “We’re mums. We get it. We’ve been there. Everyone has been there” they said to me. I wanted to hug them, only I couldn’t stop hugging Lottie.
Has everyone been there? Or is it just me who tuned out while paying for lunch and lost her child? Am I the only mum that’s bolted around madly screaming her child’s name? It’s not the first time she’s run off either. I now won’t go to a crowded beach without someone to help me with the kids. It worked when Lottie was younger, but they’re 3 and 4 now and boy they can run fast – mostly in different directions. They think it’s hilarious. I think it’s terrifying.
We got home from our sushi train adventure and I still felt shaky. I knew everything was ok, but what if I didn’t find her? What if I had lost her for longer than a few minutes? It’s every mother’s worst fear. It’s what we dread the most (that and SIDS). They might drive me to the brink of insanity most days (too honest?) but they’re my absolute everything – those two little people are my world. Nothing is more precious or important to my husband and I. Nothing.
At home, I asked Lottie where she went. “I went running mummy. Why were you crying?”
“Because I thought I’d lost my baby” I replied.
“I’m not a baby. I’m a big girl”.
Yes you are darling, but you’ll always be my baby.
I took myself upstairs and guess what I found? Bunny. Hidden away behind our door. I smiled to myself and almost wanted to cry again – this time with happiness. I’d found bunny and I’d found my child. Win, win. When it comes to being a mother, there really is never a dull moment is there? Thank god for wine.
Photo: Julie Adams