Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Nightmare at Target

My trip to Target today turned into a trip to nightmare town, and no I don’t mean because I spent too much money. I mean honestly who doesn’t spend too much money when they go there? If there is a person on this planet who can spend less than $30.00 when they go there then by all means I suggest that you write a book and hold a seminar because you my friend will make millions, but I’ve gotten sidetracked. My trip turned into my worst nightmare. I lost my child in Target and I may never recover.

That’s right you read those words correctly, although I don’t know that lost is the proper description but maybe missed my child. Yes missed my child by mere seconds as the elevator doors closed with him on one side and me on the other.  Let’s talk about panic for a moment…okay enough of that I’m starting to panic again. It is by far the worst feeling in the world. When your brain and body go into panic mode there is no telling what is going to happen.  

To know me is to know that my children are my world.  I would never put them or allow them to get into any situation that would harm them. I’m not a helicopter mom, more like a paper airplane mom. You know the mom who hovers a bit but turns away ever so slightly to let her children discover the world on their own. My boys are young so by discover the world on their own I mean play in the sandbox without me sitting on top of them. I do not mean get into an elevator and take it down into a parking garage on their own. HELL NO!! Yet somehow today, that was exactly what happened.

It all started out as a regular trip to Target; only today I had both the 4yo and the 2yo with me because Thursday is not a preschool day for my oldest. We went there to buy apple juice for my 4yo’s “Special Day” in school tomorrow, where I get to be class mom and provide the snack. We left with apple juice, saran wrap, icing, a sundress, and a pack of gum, which in and of itself felt like a success. I parked in the underneath parking garage mainly because my boys love to shout and hear their voices echo back and they both think the elevator is super cool. I shared in this feeling until today.

We paid for our things and headed towards the elevator. My 4yo, living in his own little world bumped into an old lady and I said to him honey please watch where you are going and say sorry to that lady. She smiled and said “It’s okay he is happy and I’m fine.”  I smiled and we continued on our way. My son asked if he could hit the button to which I said sure go ahead. The elevator opened he got in and I am not kidding as I pushed the cart with my 2yo the doors were flying shut. I tried to bang the cart into the doors to stop it and then tried to hit the button but nothing. It was too late. I saw my son staring at me as the doors closed and that was it….UTTER PANIC!! I started to scream and cry. I was hitting the button as if it was going to make time magically turn back. My 2yo sensed the panic in me and he started to scream and shout his brother’s name at the top of his lungs. So now I am trying to comfort my youngest while I am still losing my mind. The second elevator opened and my instinct made me jump in and head down.  When I got there…he was not there. I screamed his name 100 times all while frantically hitting the button to go back up.  We got back in and headed back up to find my 4yo standing holding hands with the old lady he had bumped into and her nurse.  (for the record if you see a security video go viral of a woman losing it in an elevator and probably using quite a bit of profanity, yup it was me.)

I cried. I cried like I haven’t cried in God knows how long. I never want to feel that way again. I hugged him. He was so calm. The old lady looked at me and said you poor thing. That stupid elevator shut so fast I told my nurse to go complain to customer service. You were so worried I was trying to tell you that I would wait here in case he came back up but I knew you couldn’t hear anything. You were in survival mode.
This is my Grandma, she's awesome and this is how I will always picture the old lady in Target (my angel)
Still crying I said “I can’t thank you enough. I was beyond panicked.”  She looked at me and said “Well I can tell you’re a good mother so don’t beat yourself up.”  Then she looked at my son and said “Don’t ever get on an elevator again without holding mommy’s hand okay?” “Okay I promise” he said. We got in the car and I went over all the things he should do if he is ever separated from me again. He said okay to me as if I was annoying him but I repeated it anyway.

I can tell you one thing, my son didn’t think about this incident once after we got into the car.  I however have replayed it approximately 2,761 times. I love my boys more than anything on this planet and the things that could have possibly happened in this situation will most likely cause me to lose sleep for quite some time. I never thought something like this would happen to me. I mean I’ve heard about things like this and thought: No way would that happen to me. Today I realized it can and it did. I am a mom. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I beat myself up over them sometimes.  I will probably not go to Target for at least a week!

When you leave a comment on this one tell me a time that sent you into “panic/survival mode” Tell me about the time as a parent that made you lose sleep.
Me & my oldest. (He's never riding an elevator again!)


  1. Oh my gosh, my eyes are tearing up as I am reading this. How scary! That woman was definitely your angel.

    Oh, with five kids, I have "lost" them numerous times. Two times that really panicked me, though were 1. At DisneyWorld. I lost my then five year old who wanders off from us. We were there on our Make-A-Wish trip so I was tense anyway. None of the Disney workers seemed to care that I had lost my child. They all stood there like I was crazy. It took me a good ten min utes to retrace our steps and find him, happy as can be looking at something.

    2. Was just the other day at the grocery store. My whole family was there and each of my four boys were pushing ther own mini cart, including my 23 month old. I swear I thought he was right behind me and I thought my husband could see him, then all of a sudden he was gone. I ran screaming for him through the store, and he was standing there with some woman who kept asking him where his mommy was and he kept saying, "I no no." My hair turned fully gray that day, I think.

    Anyway, sorry for the blog post of my own. ;) Glad your little guy is safe!

    1. If I had to pick the #1 scariest place to lose your child I think Disney World would poor thing! You must have been so scared. I'm glad he was okay. As for your hair turning gray in one day's time...YES that can happen and I believe it because yesterday did mine in! There are angels among us and they keep our kids safe I swear. :)

  2. This will have to be bullet points (or I might have another breakdown - even if it was over 16 years ago):

    - 15month old with penchant for climbing spiderman styleee
    - ridiculously easy velux window lock
    - (fortunately) deep solid guttering
    - great place to sit and throw your Lego from

    Did I mention it was on the 4th storey.........

    I still 'see' the aftermath of "what if"

    Who'd be a parent??


    1. I have chills! I can only imagine your fear. I swear these kids test our hearts daily. You're so right Who'd be a parent? ;)

  3. Having had one of those moments I could FEEL your panic reading this.

    Once had my son in a circular floaty in a pool. I was on the deck. He lifted his arms and immediately went under. I was in a panic as I jumped in to grab him. It's a feeling you never forget.

    So glad that wonderful woman was there to help you. Her kindness made all the difference.

    1. OMG never do you forget that feeling!! It's amazing the stress doesn't kill us. Just goes to show how tough the human body is.

  4. That's so terrifying! And in parking garage, of all places! My panic mode happened when the boy was 3 and fell on his drum set, ear first. Blood everywhere. I wrapped his entire head in gauze in about two seconds flat, handed him an ice pack, and had him at the E R. before I even stopped to take a breath. The ear is now fine.

  5. I commented yesterday but it didn't go through (stupid iphone). I was in tears reading your post! We lost our son at a crowded Christmas tree festival a couple of years ago when he was 3.5. I turned my back for just a few seconds to fill out bracelet info for my daughter's teddy bear. My husband was busy with our youngest son and thought that I was watching M. I thought he was watching him, etc. The little turkey had crawled under a table and behind a curtain and then was found playing in a firetruck that they had up for display. He was missing for about 15 min and they put the building on lockdown. It was seriously one of the worst days of my entire life. I was completely hysterical. I can completely relate! Hugs!

  6. Bless your heart!! I know that feeling of panic all too well. It's definitely not something you EVER forget.

    Although there have been a couple of times over the course of my career as a mom that have invoked fear, panic, screaming and tears...followed by 'what ifs' in particular stands out in my mind. I took my 3 girls to see a movie at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, which is where all the Disney movies premiere. So it's no surprise that when you leave the movie, the ushers gently guide you to exit through the Disney Store, which happens to be connected to the lobby of the theatre. They had been particularly well behaved that day, so I decided I would reward them with Princess costumes (it was close to Halloween). So we began to shop, and when everyone had found their prizes, we stood in line to pay.....with the 100+ other people who also decided to reward their munchkins with stuff. I had my hands full of princess dresses, shoes, wands and crowns, so I wasn't holding my 3 year old's hand. Big mistake. One minute she was right next to me, and the next.... gone. At first I thought she had wandered around to look at some trinkets on display a few steps from me, but still in my view, where her sisters were. But I shouted to my oldest and middle daughters (ages 5 and 9) and they said no. That's when I panicked. I dropped everything in my arms and began screaming her name. There is a cafe in there as well, and the patrons began standing up looking around. One angel of a man came over and said "What does she look like?" I told him. He began going table to table around the restaurant/store. The manager came over and started to lock the door, but I said "Wait...let me see if she walked outside." And sure enough, there she was, out on the sidewalk, standing with her back up against the window of the store...watching a parade coming down Hollywood Boulevard with thousands of strangers. I almost fainted, but started crying instead. I scooped her up and went back inside to reunite with my older girls who sat paralyzed in fear the entire time, with the family of the complete stranger who recognized my panic & came to my rescue by asking what she looked like. I paid their lunch tab as a thank you, and went home. It was terrifying.

  7. That is so very scary. I remember once in a department store when my now 6' son got in between the clothes racks where I couldn't see him. And hid. So he didn't come out when I was calling his name. Talk about freaked. Glad it all worked out.

  8. I lost my daughter at Walmart. I still get goose bumps and I know it was just a matter of minutes before we found her (security, after basically shutting down the store... THANK YOU LAKEWOOD, WA WALMART!) but it felt like eternity. I like how your describe yourself and it describes me pretty much. I was looking at men's shirts for my husband and she was a big 3 1/2 year old and standing right beside me, I took one off the rack and looked down to say "what do you think for daddy?" and she was gone. The Associate/Manager that I ran screaming to saying something like "My daughter is gone!" told me "STAND STILL. Don't call her name. We will find her" Did I listen? No, as soon as she left to after talking on her walky talky I was running down the aisles crying, big dirty sobs. Just thinking about the pain I was feeling can still bring tears to my eyes.... its been 2 years. She now hangs onto the cart, that's our rule. She can free range in the yard, but not Walmart.

    Thank you for sharing!