20, 40, 60 and GONE

The single most terrifying moment was about to be upon me.

My dad came over and whisked Lily and I away for a little bit of birthday shopping. Since Lily and I both have birthdays in December, it is easy to get them mixed up with Christmas. He makes sure there is a notable difference and it is becoming a wonderful little family tradition.

After braving the mall two weeks before Christmas, I discovered a little gem of a coat I had wanted for a long time. It was half off! Oh happy birthday to me! We had rented one of those little car strollers from the mall for Lily to enjoy but after a while she was getting bored. So I took her out and sat her in front of a mirror where she could chat with the cutest little girl I have ever known!

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My dad pulled out his wallet and began handing me money. I held out my hand, smiled at Lily and then looked at my dad ……for the count of three. He counted out 20’s and laid them in my open palm- 20, 40, 60… I looked back at Lily and she was GONE.

And I mean GONE. She had vanished. Suddenly the air was sucked out of me, my vision changed to a surreal view of the department store, my hackles raised as I scanned each and every living thing around me. SHE. WAS. GONE.

I hit the floor looking under all the clothing racks and my dad immediately ran the other direction looking for anyone carrying her off…

Frantic cannot begin to explain how I felt. I am actually in tears writing this experience right now (and it ended well). A surge of fury and fear raced through my body, changing me a little- my entire being was tingling. I noticed everything and nothing all at once. I felt like a giant and yet so powerless. As I was about to unleash a primal scream alerting everyone in the store as to my unbridled terror, when an old man touched my arm.

I will never forget the look in his eyes as he said, “He found her.” “Mama, he found her.” His eyes sparkled and I could feel his soul rejoice with the news he was chosen to deliver to me. 

Suddenly everything grew still in my mind and the world played a fuzzy background image to the sight of my dad with Lily on his shoulders.

As you would expect after having such intense emotions rack your body, mind, soul- I needed some release. I felt like I was vibrating.  Only now could I spare the energy and time to cry. And cry I did. After the last tear fell and the last of the terror shook free from my hand, I felt drained and my body went a little limp. My dad, a man who although is very sensitive and passionate, never cries, is never rattled. My dad was shaking. He was breathing heavy and he, like me, was not okay.

We took a moment to just remember how to breathe. Lily was making faces at herself in front of the mirror. She was back in her stroller and safe. SAFE. We collected our material finds and proceeded to check out and then onto home.

I never truly believed when people would say “It only takes a second.” For us it was “20, 40, 60 GONE”. My dad found her 30 yards away. She was having a ball crawling as fast as she could, enjoying her new found freedom.

I share this experience, at the risk of looking like a distracted, bad parent, because I was one, at least for that moment, and because for some, their ending of their story has no happy. We all make mistakes and I am forever grateful that mine wasn’t permanent and this story has a happy ending. Hug your children a little tighter and be safe during the insanity of your life. 🙂 Peace to you all.

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December Leftovers Dedication

I started blogging because candy crush got too hard.

Just kidding. I have dabbled with writing for years. I have even been published a couple of times and won poetry contests. But I didn’t really begin to feel inspired until I met an amazing group of women.

I joined an app when I became pregnant with Lily. This app tracked my pregnancy, gave me helpful, and sometimes silly advice, and connected me with other women all due in December from all over the world.

My daughter was born in December 2011 and I am still connected to these amazing women. Some of us have gotten married, gotten divorced, had another child, graduated school and even started their own business. But all of us have remained a strong support network for one another.

There are not many safe zones in life where you can vent honestly and vulnerably to another person but I have one. I am one of the lucky ones. This group of women is unlike any other group I have ever experienced. They are able to respectfully disagree, offer you a wider perspective, help you think clearly about important desicions, and guide you to be a better you. There is no ”mob mentality’ here. They do not tell  you just what you want to hear but what you need to hear. We are a diverse group and therin lies diverse opinions on parenting and relationships- but it’s okay. It’s okay because none of us think we are superior to any one else therefore we are free to debate ideas without judgement, without creating an unpleasant environment. How beautiful is that?

These women pooled their resources and saved my family from despair last Christmas and have since done the same for other individuals in need. Many of us have not had the chance to meet in person but several of us phone, text and skype one another. Our children know each other as ‘cousins’. For those out of the loop, it may appear as a crazy delusion that a hundred plus women scattered all over the world can be closer to one another than some family members…but it is true.

I owe this blog in large part due to this astonishing gaggle of girls. Their constant flow of support and encouragement has given me the incentive to make my writings and ramblings public. Thank you fellow mommies, women and friends for you all as individuals and as a group have touched my heart and imprinted my family in ways I cannot explain. I must admit I am having a ball sharing my world in writing. The journey of my life has always taken me to interesting places and my current adventures in motherhood have yet to disappoint. I love you all and hope to keep you close throughout our shared travels in motherhood, womanhood and friendship.

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