June 17 10

“Ali Martell! Is there an Ali Martell here?”

I stopped what I was doing, searching frantically up and down the aisles. I ran to the customer service desk, and there she was, perched atop the counter, sucking on a cherry flavored lollipop, happy. Clam-like happy. I thanked the red-shirted saviors and grabbed her and the Rice Krispie treat ingredient filled basket she was toting, paid, and left the store, not letting go of her chubby little hand.

It all started innocently enough. A project, if you will. Rice Krispie treats. A no-bake dessert, but it was also a craft. It was something to keep those hands busy between camp and dinner, the hours during the day that I would normally fill with lots of “go and play outside”s, but with the temperatures in the high 90s this week, I figure that some indoor activity would be better. Also, I kind of love RKtreats more than humans probably should and have had a hankering for them for weeks now. Selfish, yes, but the kids didn’t realize because, hello deliciousness!

We stopped at Target; it was no different than any other day. Today, however, we were focused. Ingredients and that was all. Emily tried to convince me that she needed an outfit for her band performance and Josh whined about some sort of toy he absolutely needed to have, and don’t think I didn’t want to make a detour past the swimsuit cover-up section, but no, today was all business. I didn’t even take a cart and opted for a basket instead. I was going to – for the very first time ever – make it in and out of Target only buying the few things on my list. A miracle!

Isabella, of course, insisted on carrying the basket, even though once I had filled it with ingredients (plus an extra box of brownie mix that was on sale. WHAT? It was on sale, you guys) it was far too heavy for her to be hauling. And yet. She kept stopping and switching hands. She tried using both hands. She tried carrying it like a purse. And yet. I couldn’t pry the thing from her stubborn hands. So, we kept walking. And when I got to the check-out line, I turned around to grab the basket, but….

….no Isabella. No basket.

She was nowhere. So, naturally, my Mother Bear instincts kicked in. I went back and retraced our steps, looking for a little curly blond head and a big red basket. Nothing. I went to the toy section, the candy section, the little girl dress section. Nothing. No Isabella. No basket. Suddenly this wave of nausea flashed over me and I was in an episode of Without A Trace or some other stupid show that I cannot watch because stories of disappearing children make my everything hurt and since becoming a parernt, I have had many a  Lindbergh baby nightmare, although sometimes these become a mash-up of  the Lindbergh baby and that baby in Raising Arizona and someone always ends up saying, “Son, you got a panty on your head.”

No Isabella. No basket.

“Ali Martell! Is there an Ali Martell here?”

And there she was, perched atop the counter, sucking on a cherry flavored lollipop, happy. Clam-like happy. I thanked the red-shirted saviors and grabbed her and the Rice Krispie treat ingredient filled basket she was toting, paid, and left the store, not letting go of her chubby little hand.

When we were safely in the car, I said, “Boots, what happened?? You were right behind me! I am sooo sooo soooo very sorry.”

She stopping sucking on her lollipop and said, “Well, you were right. That basket WAS too heavy for me to carry around. So, I got really tired…and I just…sat down on the floor to take a rest. And then I didn’t see you anymore and this Target lady came over and asked me if I wanted to find my mama.”

“Were you scared?”

“Of course not, duh, and I knew that the Target lady had a microphone and could find you.”

“Well, I was very scared. I was scared that some strange person was going to take you away from me.”

“That’s silly, Mama. Don’t you know about DANGER STRANGER? That’s what you are supposed to say to strangers…don’t you know anything?”

“Well, that makes me very happy.”

“Plus also, I am so VERY NOISY AND I CAN SCREAM SO SUPER LOUD. No one would want to take me home with them.”

God, I hope so. I hope she never stops screaming.  And that she never wants to carry that stupid basket again. My heart can’t take it.

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  1. Gah! I got teary reading this! My heart is racing! I can only IMAGINE what you felt like!

    I’m so glad she is OK!

    And she’s right! She is very loud! :)

    CARTS FROM HERE ON OUT!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on June 17, 2010
  2. I’m sorry you had to grow through those few minutes of terror :( ugh. this mom shit is hard.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Allison Zapata on June 17, 2010
  3. So scary for sure! You deserve the whole pan of brownies. I am glad that everything ended up ok.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on June 17, 2010
  4. Oh shit. oh SHIT!
    So glad it ended well for you.
    Wow. Hugs to you.

    [Reply]

    Comment by monstergirlee on June 17, 2010
  5. I would be shaking for days .. but it’s good to hear she has good instincts at a young age and did not panic.
    my heart hurts thinking about that sinking feeling. Glad all ended well!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sarah on June 17, 2010
  6. Oh, babe. I cannot even imagine.

    Also: I freaking LOVE your daughter. I seriously need to meet her.

    And I need to tell you the story about how I was once lost at the fair when I was 8. Sadly, there were no Rice Krispie treats involved. (I made Rice Krispie treats with my sis in Korea! It’s a universally delicious treat!)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kerri Anne on June 17, 2010
  7. A few years ago when I was taking classes on trips using the metro I was TERRIFIED that someone would get lost. And those aren’t even my own kids.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Heather on June 17, 2010
  8. Oh, Ali. This got me all teary (and a little nauseous).

    Love you guys.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angella on June 17, 2010
  9. Oh. My. Lord. You must have been sick over it. I can only imagine the terror. So glad you found her and she was OK.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Rebecca (Bearca) on June 17, 2010
  10. It’s truly one of the scariest stretches of time as a parent. We went through something like it recently. So glad all ended well.

    [Reply]

    Comment by foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) on June 17, 2010
  11. My son once shut down an Ikea for 10 min until he was found. Thank gawd Ikea knows how to do a lock down and search! Little rotter had run ahead to play in the kid area, big sigh of relief!

    I once got lost in a department store at age 4. I was scared hanging out in the customer service department (how did I get there?) but the Barbie they let me play with was cool. Was sort of miffed I didn’t get to take her home!

    [Reply]

    Comment by amyinbc on June 20, 2010
  12. OK, even though this is a scary situation and I can’t imagine your panic, I can’t help but crack up by Bella’s matter-of-fact (and too-smart-for-her-years) responses.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Camels & Chocolate on June 21, 2010
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