The other day, Kate and I went to Target. I thought, as we were headed in the store, maybe Kate would like to walk with me instead of sitting in the cart. So we went inside, I firmly grasped her hand, took a basket, and off we went. Immediately she was mesmerized by the cards and wanted to pull each one of them off the shelf. I quickly redirected her toward the toddler section to the diapers we needed. I had to laugh because as we left the card section, I saw a lady trying to corral her much-older-than-Kate daughter and when this lady saw us, she said to her daughter, "see how well that girl is walking next to her mom?"
We get to the diaper section and I set the basket down. Kate has located her brand of diapers and is happily examining the babies on the box fronts, pointing and saying baby, baby. I drop her hand, pick up a box of diapers, realize it won't fit in my basket, say hmmmm, look down...and realize Kate is GONE. Completely. I can neither hear nor see her. Of course, she's wearing her pink striped coat that blends in incredibly well with the colorful kids' section. I am frantic--Kate?! I call, realizing as I say it how futile it is to actually call her like she'd come. She is, after all, only 18 months old. I dodge through the displays, heading back the way we came and accost a couple with a child in a cart. "Did you see a girl with a pink jacket come this way?" I say as I rush by. "There she is," they say, pointing behind me. It's not her. "No, that's not her!" I respond as I keep bobbing up and down, trying to see behind displays and racks of clothes. Of course, it does not help that Jon and I just saw the movie Taken this last weekend. It also does not help that Kate is about half the height of most of the displays. I see a Target team member in red and shout my question in her direction as my eyes scan the long aisle. Oh, praise the Lord! There she is, about to turn the corner at the newborn section, about 50 yards away from me. I sprint off after her, not knowing I could run so fast while being 6 months pregnant. Thankfully, her escape is slowed by a man pushing a large cart, which has caught her attention. She is standing in front of him, looking at his cart when I catch her. "Oh, I thought there'd be someone nearby" says the man. I say thank you and start walking away, hugging that child like I hadn't seen her in the longest 20 seconds of my life. Which is about how long it took to lose and find her.
Of course, I am admonishing her as we head toward the front of the store (to get a cart) but I realize who is to blame. She hasn't been taught to stay by me in the store. She doesn't know she has to keep mommy in sight. She doesn't know she could turn a corner, look around and not find me. So I am telling her all these things as we head toward a the carts, while I thank everyone I see. (The man-half of the couple I accosted earlier went with me on my run to get Kate, which was very kind. I didn't notice until I had her that he was trying to help me.) Kate must have realized something was wrong because her answer to everything I said was ok. Ok. And she didn't squirm while I squeezed her tight.
Thank you, Lord, for watching out for our little girl while mommy learned a valuable lesson. Thank goodness I was able to learn it the easy way and not a more difficult way--I realize I had scenarios running through my brain that included closing off the exits and enlisting the help of every Target employee in the store. Needless to say, Daddy was not happy with that story when he came home later that day, but to his credit, he did not make me feel worse than I already did. Also, needless to say, whenever we go to the store Kate is in a cart. At least, until I teach her how to stay with me in a store. That will be a lesson for another day, I think.