That moment where everything around spins while you stand still, yet you are the one spinning. Looking in every direction trying to spot her.
She was right there.
Then she was gone.
Split seconds that felt like minutes passed.
Scenes of missing children flashing across my eyes.
How could this happen?
She was RIGHT THERE.
Then she wasn’t.
Somehow I was spinning to look in every direction yet it felt like was I standing still while the world spun past me in double time.
I felt sick.
Then I blinked and she came running from a place she shouldn’t have been.
“I thought Daddy went into that store and I was following him.”
I didn’t have to say a word, she felt it too.
We lost her, but she was lost.
That same panic.
I grabbed her hand and didn’t let go the rest of the day.
She didn’t either.
We got lucky that day. There were 3 adults there with my 2 kids and we all turned to go in another direction. Abby was there next to us as we turned and I thought she was right there behind my husband and my son as we turned around. She left my vision but she should have been there had she been doing what she should have. I turned back a second later and she was gone.
She told us that she thought Daddy went into the store across the plaza and was following him. She made the choice to leave me and Grandma and follow him without telling anyone, only, it wasn’t him.
With the stories of the missing girls in Iowa, that brief few seconds had me beside myself, and my husband and mother-in-law had the same panic set in. We have equipped her with knowledge of stranger danger. We have explained to her what to do when you get lost. She was wearing a bracelet with my cell phone number on it.
But yet why do I feel like I failed her?