I had the single most terrifying incident today. A moment every mother dreads. I was shopping with Josh, and when I looked around, he was gone.
My heart lurched.
Logically I knew he couldn’t have gone far. I called his name, but got no reply. I walked around the (small) shop, looking down the aisles and calling some more.
Panic set in, and I looked out of the door, but not daring to leave as, surely, he had to be somewhere here? I asked a member of staff if they had seen him, and told them what he was wearing. By this point, I was utterly frantic. I rang my lovely sister in law, who we had had coffee with half an hour before, and she was great. The shop put a description of him on the security radios, which goes to all the shops in town. A Police Community Support Officer came straight away, and asked me lots of questions about where he might have gone. I hardly dared think about the other alternative – that someone had taken him.
A few minutes later, my sister in law rang back. She had found him!
He was in the next street, having been found outside the shop that I was in by two ladies, who had thought the next street would be a better place for me to find him (why they thought that, I have no idea, but I suppose they were trying to be helpful). The PCSO came with me to go to him, to make sure I was okay. He’d been missing for about 10 minutes in total. I have never been so relieved, or hugged him so tight. My poor baby had been so frightened. He had thought I had gone out of the shop, so had gone out to look for me, and the ladies had taken him away.
Needless to say we have had a long conversation about how he should never, ever go with strangers, even if they say they are going to help him. I keep playing it through in my mind about what could have happened. I literally took my eyes off him for a second, and he vanished.
It has certainly made me be more aware, and served as a not so gentle reminder that children need to be watched every second.
We have set some rules:
- If he gets separated from me (or whichever grown up he’s with) in our town, he is to go to a certain place, and I will go and find him.
- If we get separated somewhere else, he is to stand still and shout “I want my Mummy”.
- He is never, ever to go anywhere with anyone he doesn’t know.
I will be hugging him extra tight, and I urge you all to learn from my traumatic day. I hope to God that nothing like this ever happens to you.