Thursday, July 15, 2010

Here's your sign.

Yup, it's summer. And we've been awfully busy having fun. I have lots of stuff to tell you about, but first, I have to tell you about one of my Terrifying Parenting Moments.

This week is the annual Downtown Street Fair. The fair (crafts and other similar items, lots of food!) covers about 7 or 8 blocks of Broadway, is 3 days long, and is supposedly the largest event in North Dakota. We packed the kids in the van and headed down there at about 10:30 this morning, the first day of the festivities.

And there was NO parking. No FREE parking, anyway. In the past we've been able to find a spot on a street and walk a few blocks, but there was NOTHING. So we used a parking ramp, spent a buck and didn't have to walk as far. Might be a new tradition!

Anyway, we actually bought a lawn ornament (rock/ re bar sculpture) that I've admired in past years, then watched a magician, chatted with a few friends, ate a funnel cake while watching a juggler, and in general had a good time. After a few more blocks we turned around. At one point Aaron and I admired some metal wall hangings and then noticed Curious George outside the Fargo Theater. Since Ben is kind of wary of oversized characters (and really, who can blame him?!) we walked by. About half way down the block, I realized that Ben was NOT holding onto the stroller, as I'd thought.

Last I remembered, he was holding MY hand by those metal wall hangings. Slightly worried, I retraced my steps.

No Ben.
I ran back up to Aaron, looking at all the little boys on the way: No Ben.
Ran back to the theater: No Ben.

Went to the other side of the booths and ran up a ways: No Ben.

Found Aaron again, who so helpfully said: "You still don't have him?" NO BEN!

At this point I went into full panic mode, and was imagining going home with only two kids, telling my parents, issuing an Amber Alert...you get the idea.

I was on the way to check the juggler's crowd when I ran into a friend Wendy who's husband is a radio personality. While I did some more running and scanning of small children, he got it on the air, and soon after Wendy found me and told me they had him.

THANK GOD. And I did, several times.

A lady handing out stickers had asked Ben where his mom was, and then kept him with her until two police officers joined them. At that point they heard the radio broadcast (I think - the details are a little fuzzy) and waited for me. Praise the Lord for Wendy and her hubbie, Christopher Gabriel. Knowing they were at the fair, I actually had thought, "If I can only find Christopher, I know we'll get Ben!"

Ben, of course, was totally fine. He didn't look upset at all, and had a police badge sticker to show off, as well as other stickers for him AND his siblings (isn't that sweet? He insisted on handing them out when reunited with the other half of the family.)

I held tight to his hand for the rest of the walk back to the car, and didn't even argue too much when he wanted to buy a marionette that I know I'm going to spend hours untangling.

I love him THAT much.
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What really kills me is that mere minutes before losing the child, I had been stroking my ego, thinking about how great it was that we could take 3 kids to a street fair and be fine.

That fourth kid? Not gonna happen, I'm thinking.

3 comments:

BlueCastle said...

Ugh. That panicked feeling is THE WORST. So glad it turned out okay.

Noel said...

Good to hear it Ben's adventure turned out OK. So per a separate thread on FB it looks like Ben got on the radio, though not for the reasons discussed on that thread.

Bebedores do Gondufo said...

Very good.