Lost It

Well, it happened. We lost our kid. Fortunately, there were no moments of panic, or frantic running around, or desperate, shrill shrieks of “WHERE IS CHARLOTTE?” Because, stellar parents that we are, we didn’t realize she was missing.

Yesterday at church, Chris and I hosted fellowship hour (the hour in between first and second services). It entails bringing food and drinks, making coffee, and cleaning up the hall after. No biggie. Besides, Charlotte had a blast running around and basking in the center of attention.

After the second service, we cleaned up. In the hall area, there are very few areas for Charlotte to get into trouble but plenty of space to run around, so Chris and I had a vague idea of where she was at any given time. Mostly. Finally, it was just Chris and me in the hall, plus the pastor and a church member hanging out and talking. I was wiping down a table when a teenager who occasionally babysits for us approached me carrying Charlotte. “I saw Charlotte wandering around outside and she was about to run into the street. I figured I should bring her in,” she said.

“What?!” I cried. I looked at Charlotte, happy as a clam and totally nonplussed by any potential drama, and I saw the wide open door to the hall. Everything instantly clicked. Well, duh. Charlotte loves being outside more than anything, and a beautiful late autumn day had lured her into sunshine.

Still. I was mortified. “Chris, I thought she was with you!” I said.

“I thought she was with YOU!” he replied.

The vision of Charlotte wandering into the street horrified me. And we had had no clue she was even gone. “We are terrible, terrible parents,” I said. “Oh. My. Goodness.”

The pastor, who of course witnessed our parental failure, just laughed. “It happens to everybody,” he assured us. “In fact, my parents lost me in an airport in Nairobi when I was a toddler.” I won’t lie—that made me feel better. Besides, it’s not like Charlotte was bolting toward an eight-lane highway. Just a lazy country street, here in The Sticks.

Anyway, we’re able to laugh about it—no harm done. And really, even with only a couple people left on the church grounds, somebody—who knew Charlotte—stepped in and brought her back to us.

It takes a village, eh?


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