We pride ourselves on protecting our kids; helicopter parents take this task to heart. Imagine for a brief moment, my terror at losing my one and half year old. Have you ever lost your child? Even though this event occurred over 16 years ago, I still recall the panic stricken feeling, the increased blood pressure, the quickening of my heart and the sweat rolling around every crease in my body.
We lived on a remote island in the Atlantic as part of our Air Force tour. Military housing was set up like fourplex apartments overlooking the beautiful ocean. Each side of the “house” had two families sharing one common yard enclosed with a stucco fence. As luck would have it, we were ground floor and pretty much had the yard to ourselves.
Beloved had been walking for a few months and often spent time playing alone in her bedroom, toddling back and forth to the kitchen to show me her toys. The house was small so she could safely play within earshot; privacy and quiet were unobtainable. I was busy doing laundry and stopped to take a much needed bathroom break. Quick peek at Beloved before retiring to the little wrangler’s room to take care of business; door open. I exit the bathroom and head over for a quick check on the kid. She’s gone.
I look in all of the usual suspects…under crib…nope…in closet…nope…inside toy box…nope….kitchen, living room, bedroom, laundry room…oh my God! I checked 800 square feet inch by inch and she’s nowhere to be found. In my panic, I actually unlocked the front door and ran out front. This seemed sensible considering the moment of insanity I was feeling; forget that Beloved was so petite she couldn’t even reach the doorknob let alone open it. I ran back inside to call Just Plane Dad and the security officers [no 911 on the island] when I catch a wisp of blonde hair out of the corner of my eye.
There, in the middle of our backyard, cozied up to the dog and smiling in the sunshine, sits my girl. Somehow the little snip had passed me as I sat hostage on the toilet and decided to join her partner in crime, our large Husky, out back. To accomplish this feat, she had to climb up on the couch, which rested against a large wall of windows, push out the window screen and crawl through. The drop outside of the window was just slightly lower than her height so she must have scaled it with ease. Who knew our little daredevil could climb like
Sir Edmund Hillary Spiderman?
To this day, I have no doubt that she was aided and abetted by our dog that thoroughly enjoyed her company. How she pushed the screen out we’ll never know but it still makes for a great story. Beloved enjoys each time we tell this story and has no recollection except through our memories. On the day of the incident, forever known as WindowGate, when I found her out back, she simply smiled and pointed to our dog while saying his name. I’m not sure if she was proud of her newly found speech skills or implicating him in her escape. Either way, he took her secret to the grave.
Clearly she wasn’t ever in danger but it scared me to the core. I often think of those parents that truly have a child go missing and never know. My heart goes out to them.
Have you ever lost your child? Where we they hiding?
Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad