As we walked down the causeway to the Aggie Days entrance at the Calgary Stampede, dozens of kids walked past us, their day done. Stroller after stroller after stroller and – 2 kids on leashes. I sighed. Really? Hold your kid’s hand, you’re fine.
An hour later my smugness would come back to bite me when I lost one of mine.
It’s tax weekend around our house, Jen getting hers done today, me tomorrow. So I took the boys out to Aggie Days, a celebration of all the farming industries in Alberta. There were llamas, chickens, eggs, pigs, horses, cows, and more. It’s a great event.
Charlie hopped on my shoulders to see over the crowds at the sheep sheering exhibition while Zacharie took pictures of the huge tractors behind us. He knew where we were, I knew where he was, and I figured he’d just come over and see us after he took his pics.
After the demo I turned around. He was gone. He wasn’t by the goats. He wasn’t by the tractors. He wasn’t by the llamas. He had disappeared. I lost my kid.
I didn’t think anything bad had happened to him, I didn’t think he’d been “taken,” I was more worried about his panic and stress and not being able to find us.
I may have been searching for a minute, 90 seconds tops, but just like that second between birth and first scream seems to stretch forever, this brief moment in time lingered far too long.
Then the PA announcement. “We have two little boys at the Information Center looking for their dads,” the granny voice scolded. I crossed my mental fingers hoping one of them was Zacharie. “One of the dads is Kevin, the other is Buzz.” Relief. I walked the 30 yards to the info booth and gave Z a hug.
“I couldn’t find you, so I found a man with a pass and he helped me out,” he said. He wasn’t stressed at all. He knew what to do. He was confident that when he couldn’t find me he could find a grown up who could help him.
I won’t say I wish I had a leash, but I will admit that when taking both boys out on my own, my ‘free range’ style when outnumbered can turn in to a bit of a juggling act. I’m just glad that when I dropped the ball, Z was there to catch himself.