Earlier in the school year when I went to the parent-teacher conference at nursery school, Adriana’s teacher mentioned that Adriana didn’t know her address and phone number. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to teach those to her. That afternoon I wrote down my number for Adriana. She copied it down a few times herself, and then was able to recite it to me. I told her that if she ever got lost, she should find and adult, (preferably another mom with kids, or someone who works wherever we are) and have them call me.
But Adriana is the kind of kid who tends to stick pretty close and know where I am. Lyra is my runner. It was Lyra who took off from me in Target a couple of months ago, running down the aisle and then dodging through racks in the clothing section. I ordered Adriana to stay by our cart, and then I tracked Lyra for a while by the sound of her giggles, and the amused smiles and pointing of other customers. But then she was gone, and I couldn’t find her anywhere. An employee made an announcement over the speakers for everyone to look for a two-year-old girl with short blond hair, a red shirt, and Thomas rainboots. She was quickly found back by the dressing rooms, a good three quarters of the store away from where she’d taken off.
But today, Adriana and I got separated at Happy Hollow. We’d been there since it opened, nearly six hours before, and we were all tired. Adriana was on a play structure that was a little too big for Lyra, and Lyra wanted to see the lemurs one more time. I tried to catch Adriana and waved, and then took Lyra to watch one lemur hanging from another one’s tail. We sat for a while, and then a couple who had been there watching the lemurs with us not long before brought Adriana to me. She seemed fine, but as soon as she saw me, she burst into tears. Although it had seemed she was looking at me, she hadn’t caught my wave and seen me take Lyra to look at the lemurs one last time before the park closed. She had looked up, seen I wasn’t there, remembered that Lyra had been wanting one last ride on the carousel, and headed off in that direction, calling for me. When I wasn’t the merry-go-round she started back and then hesitated. The couple had seen Adriana and asked her if she was okay. She says she told them, “I can’t find my mom,” and they had brought her back to me. Simple as that. She and Lyra were wearing similar outfits today (and maybe the couple had seen us together earlier), so the other parents knew where to bring her.
It’s funny the things that don’t occur to me. I thought because I taught Adriana how to find me if we were separated, I didn’t need to worry much. I hadn’t anticipated the trauma it would cause to her if we were actually separated. Can I blame Lyra for that? She thought her little escapade was hilarious. I’m not particularly concerned about getting separated from Adriana again. I think she’ll stick close, as usual, and I think I’ll be more aware of going out of her line of sight (for what it’s worth, on the larger play structure at the park earlier in the afternoon, she had gone out of my sight plenty). I’m starting to wonder, though, if in a panic she would be able to recall my phone number. I’ll just cross my fingers and hope I don’t have to find out.