This morning, we had a play date at the Galleria Mall Play Place, which Cheyenne loves. Once we got there, I was talking to one of the other moms in our group, Chelly, and we were standing right next to the entrance to the play place. It's just a big circle area completely surrounded by padded benches all the way around except for a small area where you walk in. So Chelly and I were standing there talking and I would look up every few seconds to keep my eyes on Cheyenne. One time, I looked up and I didn't see her. I figured she was on the other side of the rock formation, so I walked over there and I didn't see her. All of a sudden my heart was in my throat, I started having trouble breathing and I was becoming frantic. I looked in all of the tunnels to make sure she wasn't underneath the formations and when I had done that 3 times and I still couldn't find her, I went into full panic mode.
I asked Chelly to keep an eye on my stroller, which had my purse in it, but of course that was the least of my worries at that time. I walked out of the play area with so many things running through my head: "How did she get past me? We were standing right at the entrance" "Did someone grab her?" "Oh my God, the escalators are right over there. What if she fell down the escalators?" So many things ran through my head, not to mention the fear and panic that I was experiencing.
I walked into a couple of nearby stores to see if they had seen a little girl come in and they hadn't. Then my friend Chelly motioned for me to come back over there and she said that the lady walking towards the play area had Cheyenne. I walked over to get her and the lady told me (in a very snotty and belittling voice) that she was over in Nordstrom's and they were getting ready to call security. I took Cheyenne and put her back in the play area and I didn't get onto her, but gently reminded her that she needed to stay in the play area where Mommy could see her.
Cheyenne is not a runner. She does not wander off. She is really good about staying within my vision and she always makes sure she knows where I am. I think what happened is that she didn't see me and didn't know where I was and was afraid I had left her and she went looking for me. Later in the day, when I was telling my parents about it, Cheyenne said "I lost you Mommy" so that kind of confirmed what I had been thinking. But I still can't figure out how she just walked past me without either one of us seeing each other.
I can't begin to explain the feeling of not knowing where your child is, but it has always been one of my biggest fears and now I have experienced it and I pray I will never experience it again. All ended well and everything is okay, but it was definitely my scariest moment as a mother.