Sunday was a normal day for us, as in I bashed heads with my dad, got a new car (Possible codename: Emerald Queen), & nearly lost my child in Target (trying to find accessories for said new car). Wait, did I just admit that in public? Lost my child? For five minutes in a busy box store, I didn’t know where my child was. Pause a bit before you call CPS on me; a few good things came out of this, past the near heart attack & tears.
This incident more clearly defines my personal parenting struggle between two types. I could be a helicopter which people seem to expect these days, which goes against my basically lazy inner Cali girl. More & more I lean on my own hazy memories of slipping the bounds of my supervision when I was Kade’s age & wandering the Arizona desert with only a probably confused, definitely long suffering dog named Major for company.
As Tom & I stood a few feet away & watched Kade search the aisles for us, we waited for him to turn his head two inches & spy us, I was in a way testing him. Could he figure it out, how to seek us? How much tether to give him, considering the huge, wild ride of kindergarten poised to jump us at the end of this summer?
Kade didn’t see us (or there would have been no tale to tell), instead he headed off uncertainly down a different aisle. I shook my head as I headed out to collect him, but the panic only set in when he wasn’t there. No matter what the statistics say, I watch too much Criminal Minds. I understand the potentials in this situation, but there’s still the struggle. How much do I protect, from everything, & how much can I start teaching him now to fend for himself, to engage the brain resting in that pretty blonde head? What is appropriate for this child at this age, compared to his desert wandering mother, farm wandering with two older bothers’ father, or Tom with two older sisters in a sleepy farm town?
In that five frantic minutes with the worst trotting through my mind’s eye, & I can say this now with pride since the panic has (mostly) passed, Kade proved he does listen to me, & remember. I have two main rules for when we go out-don’t leave a place unless you’re holding the hand of whoever you went in with, & if you can’t find us, find an employee or cop & tell them you’re lost. It was the second one he put into use on Sunday. He found a women with a red Target shirt on, clearly an employee & not a random Joe Schmoe, & informed her he couldn’t find his Mommy.
Thankfully the tale ends there, as Tom overheard her calling a code yellow & found him that way, & then here came Mommy to scoop him up with no panic evident on her face.
So there’s the good news out of all this; he can handle himself fairly well in such a situation. But I’m going to teach him how to do a proper search, or just stay in place, for god’s sake child!