I'm sure I'm not the only mom this has happened to but when your child disappears and you can't find them it is terrifying. Today started like any other Friday. Girls arguing, Malakai crying, and me rushing around the house trying to get the kids dressed and diaper bags/backpacks packed. We then headed out the door to BSF. It was my discussion group's turn to volunteer in the children's ministry and I wanted to be there a little early so I could find out what room I would be assigned to. I got my three kids dropped off, breathed a sigh of relief, and headed to the toddler room where I would be helping.
Fast forward three hours and BSF is over and I am now picking up my kids after listening to the recorded lecture with the other volunteers. Layla is starting to meltdown and fuss about everything, Sanaa is giving me attitude and not listening, and Malakai is yawning and very tired. I just want to get out the door and to the van.
We head toward the stairs and Layla stops to throw a fit about needing hand sanitizer but it was too high and therefore I needed to lift her while holding Malakai. Sanaa went and sat on the steps and I asked her to stay there. I took care of Layla and then turned to go up the steps. We went around the corner (the stairs turn a corner) and all I saw was Sanaa's backpack. I called her name but she didn't answer. Layla picked up Sanaa's bag and carried it all the way up the steps for me. When we got to the top I looked around the foyer but didn't see Sanaa anywhere. I called her name and there was no answer. I looked behind some of the places she likes to hide but she was no where.
I headed back downstairs thinking maybe she went into the ball pit and I didn't see her since I had been dealing with Layla. I passed a mom (Gena) from my discussion group who was headed upstairs and told her I couldn't find Sanaa. She headed up the steps and said she'd look around upstairs while I looked downstairs. I then ran into Sanaa's teacher who was sitting with her kids and asked if she had seen Sanaa. She hadn't but jumped up and said she look around downstairs for me.
So I headed back upstairs where I ran into Malakai's teacher and another mom (Megan) from my discussion group. Megan took Malakai and Layla from me so that I could look outside while Gena and Malakai's teacher looked around upstairs.
By this point I was trying hard not to panic. I'm sure only a few minutes had passed but it felt like an eternity. Thankfully I didn't see Sanaa outside anywhere so I headed inside again. I was getting ready to start looking down a different hallway when Malakai's teacher said, "Is that her? Is she wearing a black coat?" She had spotted Sanaa walking back towards the foyer coming from a hallway I know Sanaa had never been down.
I think I was shaking at this point and told Sanaa she needed to get her back immediately. I turned and tried hard to not start crying but Megan came over, gave me a big hug, and said it's okay to cry. I know Megan probably understands how terrifying my short ordeal had been since there was one day I arrived at the church to find her standing outside a locked door with one child in her arms and the other child locked inside the building. That day I helped Megan rescue her child and today she helped me find my missing kid.
I'm really hoping something like this doesn't happen again and I'm fairly sure Sanaa won't wander off anytime soon (she was upset and crying that she couldn't find me) but I am thankful this happened at BSF where there were other moms to help me look for Sanaa.
Layla was a very good listener while we looked for Sanaa and if you ask her what happened she'll say, "So scary. Couldn't find sissy. Sissy lost. So scary."