Parenting Question: What Would You Do If Your Child Went Missing for 3 Hours?

momparenting

Awhile ago, I wrote a post after my boys had gone missing in the neighborhood for about 45 minutes. At the end of that post, I asked a similar question to this post's title: What would you do if your child(ren) went missing?

What's prompting me to ask that question again today is a little jaunt down memory lane.

When I was 8-years old, I wanted to go shopping. The mall was 15-20 minutes from my house. My mom was gone. I was left home to babysit my 4-year-old sister. Leaving an 8-year old home alone could be fodder for an entirely different post, but I'll stick to the point. I had to be resourceful. When a girl "needs" to go shopping, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, right? For me, that meant calling our local taxi company and hiring a cab to take me, my 7-year-old girlfriend, and my 4-year old sister to said mall. I.WAS.EIGHT!

A little background. My grandma was an alcoholic. She had lost her driver license and so whenever we visited and she wanted to take us anywhere, we'd always have to go in a taxi. It was the only reason I would have been exposed to them as they weren't abundant in the city of Mesa, Arizona in the 70s. I thought it was totally normal for a person who couldn't drive to use one to get somewhere they desperately needed to go—like the mall!

Back to the story!

Part of my being resourceful also included borrowing some of my dad's money and figuring out how to not have the neighbors get in the way of me reaching my final destination. The solution? To have the taxi pick us up in an adjacent neighborhood about three blocks away in front of a stranger's house.

Mission accomplished!

We spent 2 1/2 glorious hours at the mall. I only had about $3 to spend, so I bought my sister some earrings. Tell me if I wasn't the most thoughtful sister evs. I didn't make sure she left the house with shoes on and she ended up shoeless on our journey to the mall, but I bought her earrings. Doesn't shopping trump everything?

Back to the homestead. My parents had returned home shortly after we had left. My mom called my friend's house, looking for us. She went around the neighborhood. She started getting worried. And then she found it. My clue! See... I wasn't totally cold hearted. I didn't want my mom to worry...too much! So, I wrote a note: "Mom, I'm going to Reed Park... in a taxi." Sure, it was a half truth, but that last part was all the clue it took for her to call our local Dial-A-Ride and find out about our adventure.

The taxi driver dropped us off exactly where he picked us up, which required us to walk 3 blocks back to our house. We had lots of stares and heard lots of whispers as we made the trek. I didn't really have a chance to make a grand entrance or say goodbye to my friend when we reached my lawn, because I was whisked away by my nervous mom who marched me right down to my bedroom.

I wasn't allowed to play with my friend EVER again. Apparently, her mom thought I was a bad influence. WHAT? I was resourceful!!! I saw a need and I met it with limited resources and only a pinch of stealing and lying.

The up side: My sister's feet returned to their original color. Her ears glistened with the new earrings. I had a huge adventure notch on my belt. And I had given my parents a wild ride! Everyone's looking for a little something to spice up their life, right? That was me: life spicer upper!

But no matter how many positive spins I put on this story, the fact of the matter is that while I knew I was a shopping diva, in my parents' eyes, they had two daughters who were MISSING, which was more than quite a scare!

What would you do if your child went missing for 3 hours?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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