It can happen to anyone.
As I told you yesterday, we spent the day at the beach on Saturday with lots of family. It was crowded but lots of fun. This was the firs time, really, that we had the girls at the ocean. We’ve taken them to the beach at my parent’s lake house, but it’s on a small lake and it’s rarely crowded. You can see from one end of the sand to the other easily. The beach on Saturday was more like this:
Ok maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but that’s certainly what it felt like! I’m not a huge fan of the beach to begin with so this left me a little bit uneasy. In between shaking sand out of my bathing suit bottom and cleaning sand off of the kids’ cups (hands, mouths, food, towels) I spent just about every other minute of the day making sure that I could see both of the girls. We had a lot of family members around us so I always felt sure that someone had an eye on each of them at any given time, but if I couldn’t see them, it made me a little nervous.
Well, after we had been there for about 3 or so hours, I got more comfortable in the setting and everyone was having a great time. And then a woman approached us. She was a bit frantic looking. She started hollering to anyone who would listen, “A six year old boy is missing. His name is Shane. He’s wearing a camouflaged bathing suit.” My heart immediately began pounding at the thought of someone’s child missing on a very crowded beach. A parent’s worse nightmare. I made sure everyone that I was with knew what the woman said and then I stood up and started scanning the crowd. My heart would start racing even faster (if that’s even possible) and then I’d immediately look to both of my girls making sure they were right there with us. If I couldn’t find them for a second, my throat began to feel a little tight.
The woman continued to walk up the beach making her announcement. Then she saw some police officers standing at the top of the sea wall. She climbed up the very uneven, sand covered, concrete stairs to talk with them. They radioed the message to other officers and the woman descended the stairs. And fell. This scene was totally upsetting. She hit her head on the stairs when she fell. So now not only was she searching for her (I’m guessing) grandson who was missing on the crowded beach, but she was being taken away on a stretcher to the hospital. I felt like I was going to throw up just thinking of it.
Well, I won’t leave you with a sense of panic. Instead, I will leave you relieved. Not minutes after the woman was taken away the little boy was found by his family. The woman was fine and just required a stitch or two to close her wound. But this will forever leave a mark with me. I will never lose sight of my children in a crowd. I will never become complacent where I think “that will never happen to me”. It can happen to anyone. Be vigilant. Keep your eyes and the eyes of anyone who is with you on your kids at all times.