Has Anyone Seen Sunshine’s John Deere Cap?

I was on the radio the other day. Don’t be jealous. They had a segment on a time you’ve lost your child in a public place and boy, do I have stories about that. I called in about the time I left Sunshine at a truck stop, but then I realized that I didn’t actually lose her, I just left her at a truck stop with strangers. It’s as dramatic as it sounds. Then I thought about the time I lost Moonshine at a Rockies game, and then I lost Tenderheart at a Chuck E Cheese. It’s a miracle I still have these kids.

The story I went with was losing Moonshine at a Rockies game. I went with my old friend Danielle and her family. I think I’ve named her something else, but I can’t remember so I’m just going to call her Danielle. She used to watch my girls when Sunshine was in kindergarten and Tenderheart was 8 months old and I had to go back to work full-time.

Anyway, I think we took the train downtown and walked over to the game. Tenderheart was a little over one and she was way ahead of us with Danielle’s husband, and Danielle had her two kids and I had Sunshine and Moonshine. So we walked in the stadium and up the ramp and Moonshine, who was three, pulled her hand away from me when I tried to grab it. We got to the top of the ramp and we went right and Moonshine stomped to the left. I turned around to get her and she was gone, like gone, gone.

I ran down the ramp because I didn’t realize she’d just gone the other way and I’m a fatalist so my mind went directly to “She’s gone forever”. She wasn’t at the bottom of the ramp, so I ran back up the ramp and to the left and she was surrounded by like six police officers telling them her name. She was three. I grabbed her and hugged her and burst into tears. This was all within a series of about four minutes, but it seemed like a lifetime. One of the police officers asked me why I hadn’t reported her missing, he yelled at me actually and another police officer grabbed his arm, but I hadn’t seen any police officers because she was surrounded by six of them. It was the worst. I wanted to spank her and hug her and ground her and never let her go. You know that feeling when you’re so mad, yet grateful?

And now she’s around and able to drive with her eyes closed.
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I took my older girls to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party and Tenderheart was with me in a stroller. I always had my kids, like always. There was never a time when the monkey said, Hey, why don’t you just go have some time on your own while I keep the kids, so of course I had Tenderheart. Sunshine and Moonshine were having fun at the party and I was playing some light game that would give you a bunch of tickets while Tenderheart was just hanging out in the stroller. And I won. I won like 350 tickets and I never win anything. I grabbed the tickets and went back to the party to tell everyone I won a bunch of tickets and sat down to chat with some moms when I realized Tenderheart was still over at the game just hanging out, alone. What’s wrong with me? I’d completely forgotten that I had her and then I had that feeling of, Where’s Tenderheart? Oh, crap, there she is just sitting over there.

And here she is sleeping at lunch. Glad I went back for her.
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This one is the WORST!! When Sunshine was three months old, I was driving to Kansas to meet my mom. There’s a place in Kansas that’s halfway between me and her and we were going to go Christmas shopping over a weekend. My car broke down and I was on an off ramp. And it was all pre-cell phone. A semi-truck pulled up behind me to move me out of the way and then be on their way when they saw I had a baby. It was a husband and wife and the only reason they helped me is because I had a baby. Another trucker was going another way but stopped and these two sketchy guys got out and the husband hollered, We’ve got them. They took us to the truck stop and I called a tow truck from an actual pay phone. I waited there with Sunshine and when the tow truck got there, the wife said she’d keep Sunshine because it was too cold outside. I thought they were bringing my car back to the truck stop so I left her there in the warm restaurant.

I remember pulling out of that parking lot and thinking, What are you doing? We went to where my car was and then back to the truck stop, but then he passed it. As we got past the truck stop and I said, Wait, I have to go back there and get my baby. And he said/yelled, You left your baby at a truck stop?!?! Ummm, yeah, yeah, I did.

Do you know how lucky I was? That couple could have just been roaming the highways looking for a baby and bam, I just gave them one. I was in a strange town and my car was broken down and they could have just taken off and raised her on the road in a John Deere cap. Was it trust or stupidity? I didn’t get any kind of important information off their truck, I just left her there. I don’t even know their names. Although there have been times when I’ve thought of them and wished I could have thanked them more for taking care of me. Blessed is what I was. Blessed.

Glad I went back for Sunshine too.
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Then the tow truck driver took my car to this mechanic, who was asleep and they opened the local auto parts shop to get me a new alternator. I love small town America.

We went to a play tonight and Sunshine drove some friends and I met her there. She came out and her battery was dead. I was parked next to her, but with no jumper cables. And all I thought about was how scared I would have been to have her just out there with a dead battery and no way to get it started, again, if we were still pre-cell phone. Can you imagine my mother’s anxiety driving to meet me only to find me not there because I’m stuck five towns over with a busted alternator? And back then, tell us about it Grandma Christy, I had to call my sister and tell her my car broke down and hope my mom would call my sister when I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and give her the number I was at. And I had a freakin’ baby? This blog started with me losing my kids and ended with how much I love technology. I shouldn’t blog at night.

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1 Comment

  1. Gma

    We are all blessed. We have driven thousands of miles to be part of each other, and I am thankful for every minute and every memory.

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