Yes, I did

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on July 12, 2009

Because I have been asked, more than once, if I did in fact leave Ben and make it across town without him, I decided to finally tell the story. It’s a hard one for me to tell. I get that knot in my stomach, and I start to tear up, just thinking about it. I can assure you that I look in the eyes of each of my kiddos every time I load them in the car now, just to make sure we don’t leave one behind.

So, here it is. The story of when I left Ben at Target…

Back in October I was hurrying through a bunch of errands, with all six kiddos in tow. Not entirely abnormal. But, this particular day had been abnormally stressful. We had been to the post office and the bank, but stopped off at Target just before heading to the grocery store across town. My older kids messed around the entire time we ran up and down the aisles, while Josh and Ben continuously pushed and shoved each other in the over-sized cart. I don’t even want to talk about Noah’s impatient clamors.

Somehow I managed to pay for everything, while keeping my cool, but as we exited the store I began reprimanding my kiddos for their horrible behavior, and off we went. I was still pretty angry when we pulled into the grocery store parking lot not more than 3 minutes away, and I was probably even still yelling at everyone, threatening them to behave while I gathered a few groceries. As each of my little people filed out of the car, I noticed that Ben was missing.

I checked the car for my slowpoke. He had to be hiding from me. But, when I didn’t see him at first glance, I began yelling his name. I soon remembered that it was Ethan’s job to buckle and unbuckle Ben’s seatbelt. Had he done that? Nope. He didn’t remember Ben being in the car at all.

This was when the panic set in as I realized that in my haste and frustration I left Ben at Target!

Everyone literally jumped in the car, I made sure my kiddos were buckled, and raced out of the parking lot, as I cried to the Lord to keep my baby safe. Traffic began to slow along the highway and I saw an accident up ahead, so I called Target to see if they had found my Ben. They put me on hold as I screamed, “he’s only 2!”

The thoughts that go through your head, when you can’t find your child, are not pleasant, let me tell you. I tried to push each one aside, as I prayed that God would hold my baby until I could find him.

As I finally ran through the doors of Target, there was a cluster of employees right in the very spot we had checked out, not more than 10 minutes earlier. And, there on the floor sat my baby, with a pinwheel in his hand.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

ClassyMommy July 12, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for sharing this honest and heartwrenching story with everyone. I’ve heard it before but even reading it now I’m tearing up. I can’t imagine. I panic when Kyle goes missing in the house and I know he is just hiding somewhere. Thank goodness for the happy ending. Miss you and can’t wait to see you at BlogHer.

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Tooth Fairy July 12, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for sharing…it’s almost like the “Home Alone” movie but it’s not a funny situation at all!!!! I can and do imagine the heartfelt pain & panic you must have felt. I’ve experience similar situations twice…thank heavens for our happy endings! “Guardian Angel” was watching over the bunch of you! Here’s to believing in living “Happily Ever After”.

Please remember me when you need a “Tooth Fairy” Ok?
~Good-bye, Gotta fly~
Twitter’s Tooth Fairy
@toothfairycyber
http://www.toothfairycyberspace.com

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Maureen July 12, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Christine.
I left my sister sitting in our backyard when I was 12 and she was 2… Thats right there were 6 of us. We were leaving to go on vacation a 3 day drive away for 30 days. My parents were in a “skitter” that we would forget something. They were stressed about getting the house locked up, making sure everything was packed in the car and camper.. so we could be off on our adventure. My job after placing my suitcase outside was to watch the baby.. I watched her.. she was having a fantastic time sitting in the backyard in a little play car..
Dad said Load em up… time to go.. so I did… we were about 10 minutes away when Mom asked how the baby was doing..
Yep.. she was still in the backyard driving her pretend car on vacation when we arrived back at the house. I was crying, mom was crying.. Dad was yelling… whooo never forgot her again.
I can imagine how it was with your little guy..
Thanks for sharing

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Naomi July 12, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Oh, no! Every mom’s worst fear. Thankfully you realized it quickly and you didn’t leave him somewhere that could have been more dangerous… you must have terrified.

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Tara @ Feels like home July 12, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Oh my goodness. My stomach aches just thinking about it. I’m sorry for your little Ben and for you. Fortunately, he probably won’t remember it at all.

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Liz July 12, 2009 at 7:24 pm

WOw.. I can only imagine what you must have felt. I felt your emotions, as I was reading your story. But, I can totally relate to the kids misbehaving so much, that you can feel a little out of it, just trying to reason with them. ((*hugs*))

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Brenda July 12, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I must confess I have forgotten a kiddo as well. And I only have three!
Fortunately mine was just from the church parking lot to the church. On that particular day Shanna and Kristyn (usually responsible for getting Derrick out of the car seat) had friends riding with us to attend church. In their excitement they jumped out of the car and we all went into church. All except Derrick who was still in his carseat crying!

As the girls scattered to class I looked for Derrick and quickly realized he was not there. Rushing back to the car we took him out of his seat and hugged him as he sadly cried “you left me!”

ugh…I guess it happens to all (most?) of us sometimes?

Brenda

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Mrs. Pi July 12, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I can’t imagine how you felt… In fact tears welled up in my eyes. Since my pregnancy my biggest fear is leaving my daughter somewhere and I had many nightmares about it. Thanks god he’s too little to remember anything and, of course, he was fine…

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Elizabeth July 12, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Doesn’t it suck that none of us a perfect. Arghhhhh that is so agrivating to me that WE ALL have instances just like this that show we make mistakes. I bet you are a better mom because of it.

Even better now that we have all read your story,……we will all be better moms because of it! That’s the best part of blogging that we can share and learn from each others mistakes!!!

Mwah!!! <3 you for being such a strong and transparent blogger, mama, and woman.

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Haley July 12, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I appreciate the honesty in this post.

My son is almost 2 and I can totally relate to your feelings.

I think there is so much pressure placed on Mom’s during the day that we really hate ourselves when things go wrong…but we are not perfect…and that’s ok.

The lord was watching over Ben that day…pinwheel and all. :-)

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Miranda @ Keeper of the Cheerios July 12, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Yikes! That is absolutely one of my biggest fears. I imagine having that many kids acting up it would be really easy to lose track. I’m glad he was found healthy and happy with his little pinwheel :)

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Michaela July 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Thanks for sharing. I think my heart would have stopped if that were to happen to me… it’s one of my biggest fears. It’s nice to know someone was watching over him.

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Teresa July 12, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I lost #1 in Target once. After lecturing him to stay with me, he ventured off. He was 5, but it still scared him to death.. and me. Let’s just say he hasn’t done it since.

I’m glad your little one was safe! I’m sure you’ll look back on it and laugh one day!

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The Chickenista July 12, 2009 at 11:41 pm

I’m so glad you found him safe and sound! Praise God he held on to him. I couldn’t imagine the mess I’d be. I’m really surprised I’ve never left a kid. Honestly, the many of times I’ve stormed outta a store with kids running behind me…. To frustrated to even glance their way. Our days are always errands, fighting and crying.

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Julie Cole, Mabel's Labels Inc. July 13, 2009 at 4:04 am

Thanks for your honestly….as a mama of six I can totally see how it could happen. Things are crazy when you are trying to get stuff done with all of them under foot. A happy ending for you and Ben, but the longest few minutes of your life no doubt!

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Liz July 13, 2009 at 7:47 am

Thanks for sharing this, and I appreciate hearing this because it helps me remember that we are all human! I could only imagine the gripping fear you felt, and I could definitely see that happening to myself (with 4 kiddos) so thanks again for sharing, and I’m glad your little guy was okay!

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priscilla July 13, 2009 at 8:42 am

oooh gosh.. I cant imagine…the onlything even kind of similar was when my son (maybe 3?) ran off the elevator and it closed just before I could wheel through and it wouldnt let me open it back up until I went down and came up again……..he FREAKED.

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LinseyK July 13, 2009 at 9:56 am

This is the worst fear of any mom! I can just imagine how I’d be screaming and panicking (and probably swearing) all the way back to the store to get him. Thanks for sharing.. although it wasn’t easy to read, I’m sure it was even more difficult to tell! Keep doing great things, Christine!

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Cheryl July 13, 2009 at 10:14 am

How scary! When my Biggest was little I used to babysit 5 other kids. I would take them with me on all my errands and on fun outings. I can’t tell you how many times, when on the way home, I would slam on the brakes, pull over on the side of the road and count heads. What a horrible feeling! How did you Husband react to the news?

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Stephanie July 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Oh my that is crazy! We almost lost my daughter at Disneyland. It was one of those moment where we were all standing in line, then I was like, Where’s Myla? I think she realized that she was lost the same time I realized we left her.

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Renee July 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Oh wow, I know that must have been so traumatic. I am glad he stayed calm the entire time.

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Stefany July 13, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I am so glad that turned out well. I can’t even imagine the fear and panic you must have felt. I am so sorry that ever happened. :(

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Mindy July 14, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I’m glad you finally ‘fessed up to it, friend! It’s okay. We’ve all either been there, done that, or will be there, and will do that!

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Gina July 14, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Christine – kudos to you for admitting this. It’s a big one (and I cannot even begin to think how scary) and you exposed the scattered mommy brain that we all have but don’t admit! We’ve all done similar things that we’re not proud of but they happen when we try to do too much. There have been many times where I have just thanked God that my kids are safe, healthy and happy.

Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself. When we share these real moments, we get to know each other better.

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kristin July 15, 2009 at 2:36 am

I do remember this day..very scary indeed. I was lost once or twice..it happens. No biggie.. ;) heck I STILL get lost!

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JoeyfromSC July 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

WOAH! I was on the edge of my seat, heart racing lol

Your description was as if I was there lol

So happy that he was safe and sound:)

awww@playing with a pinwheel…I guess it could happen to anyone, so don’t beat yourself up about it to badly..thanks for sharing!

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Lisa December 31, 2009 at 11:59 am

As a mom with 7 kids, four under the age of three (Years ago) I can relate to the enormous amount of stress you experienced being in the store with all of them, and I can understand how one could have accidentally been left behind. I”m so happy Ben was safe & sound!

My biggest fear was that I would leave one of my kids behind in a store somewhere. That didn’t happen, but I did forget a whole shopping cart full of groceries one time when I went shopping with the 4 younger kids. Luckily I remembered I forgot to load the groceries after I loaded up the kids in the van.

And one time I forgot to buckle up the baby, when I was frazzled after loading up triplets and her carseat flipped over when I turned a corner. Luckily she was buckled into her car seat, so she didn’t get hurt, but I still remember shaking and crying when I saw her car seat upside down.

Motherhood is rough!

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Leah @Bookieboo April 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm

OMG, you made my heart jump in my throat. XXOO
.-= Leah @Bookieboo´s last blog ..Congratulations to the Finalists =-.

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