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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Nearly Lost

Today, I'm sharing something that still sends chills down my spine when I think about it. I thought it would be good to document the incident down on the blog as it's probably a parenting memory I'd never forget.

It happened when I was in Perth a couple of months ago with my family. It's the kind of thing that would freak any parent out completely, especially when it happened in a foreign land. We lost Jayne. Of course, we eventually found her, but I am sure you can imagine what a scary ordeal it was for us.

We were at Fremantle on a very busy street on Saturday, and we were just walking along the streets and checking out the shops. We were all walking together, and whenever I saw an interesting shop, I would walk in and the girls would follow me. But when I turned into one of the shops at the corner, Jayne did not see me turn in, so she continued walking along that busy street. Papa Isaiah was behind us but he later said he thought he saw Jayne turn in together with us as well.

On hindsight, I am very thankful that I did not stay in that shop for too long. I only took a glance at everything and walked right out. That was when I realised Baby Jayne was not with me and she was not with Papa Isaiah either!

Instantaneously, I felt my pulse quicken and I broke out in cold sweat. It's amazing how negative our minds can become in a split second. As we backtracked our steps and went into every shop that we passed by, many things flashed through my mind. My heart sank when I remembered we were not in Singapore, the safe and secure country we call our home. We were in Perth, for goodness' sake! And I lost my three-year-old on a mega busy street?? I could hardly breathe. I was considering my options if I could not find her. Where was the nearest police station? Should I perhaps shout her name loudly so that she could hear me? Would someone have abducted her? MY BABY MUST BE SO SCARED!!!!!!!

At that point, I realised that all kinds of negative thoughts can fill our minds in a dire situation. It is not possible to remain completely calm. Our thoughts get all jumbled up. We start imagining the worst. We hyperventilate.

I must have been quite a sight. I was holding on to Joey's hand very tightly, for fear that I would lose her too while searching for her sister. We walked briskly into a shop, looked around quickly, asked the people whether they saw a little girl, went out and into the next shop. We searched many shops, but she was nowhere to be found. I was getting more and more nervous by the second.

There was a road just next to the pavement we were walking on, and at one point, I wondered if she crossed the road to the other side by herself, and contemplated crossing over to look for her. In the end, all I did was to stand on the road and shouted as loudly as I could, 'JAYNE!', 'JAYNE!'. As if all elements of Mother Nature were playing a fool of me, suddenly I heard different girls crying all around me. I frantically looked around, but none of them was Jayne. Come on, must they all cry at the same time???!

It was the longest 15 minutes of our lives.

Ironically, I did not feel like crying. Not like those scenes in drama serials, where the mum would break down in tears on the streets while looking for her child. All I could feel was my heart pounding really, really fast. I'm not exaggerating, but there were moments I felt that everything around me stopped moving. I was standing there with Joey on a busy street, and the earth stopped moving.

Suddenly, I saw Papa Isaiah walking towards us, and in his arms was Baby Jayne! A rush of relief came over me immediately. Joey was elated to have found her sister too. We huddled together in a big hug. Baby Jayne was of course sobbing uncontrollably. Turned out, Papa Isaiah tried walking down the street some more, hoping that Baby Jayne had perhaps walked to the front without realising that we were not with her. When she suddenly realised that she was alone on the streets with no familiar faces, she started to cry, and a kind Australian couple saw her and approached her. The guy let her sit on his shoulders so that she could spot us! I thank God that a very smart guy found my baby! And it was so fortunate that they decided to walk in the direction towards us! It was a very big place - They could have gone in any direction! So, that's when Papa Isaiah saw her seated on the guy's shoulders and quickly went to bring her back.

God's protection is definitely with Baby Jayne even though she went missing for 15 minutes. I cannot imagine what would have happened if we could not find her, and I dare not think about that either. I am thankful to God that when I was not with my daughter, He watched over her for me. This incident had definitely made me more alert when I bring the girls out with me now. I am also constantly feeling thankful to God for taking care of them even when I am less than careful at times.

Truly, when it comes to matters concerning the kids, nothing can or should be taken for granted. And it sure feels better talking it out. :)

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