Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Scariest Trick or Treat EVER!

Along with the rest of the East Coast we were waiting for the big Frankenstorm aka Sandy for the last few days. I'd done my part with the groceries, meal planning and prep, ensuring batteries and flashlights were ready to go. George did all the man stuff and quite honestly, I don't even know what it all was. I'm grateful I don't have to worry or even know what he's doing to prepare for our family because it's simply taken care of.  {even though some of the process makes me insane}
I am forever grateful for who he is.

As the weather reports kept coming in worse, school was canceled for today and trick-or-treating was postponed until Saturday night.

Since the worst of it was to hit us late last night with high winds and tons of rain, we decided to take the kids to the mall for trick or treating where it would be dry and to have something fun to do. We met up with two of my friends and their kids. Seeing them both {and their kids} always makes me happy!

George took a vacation day to ensure we were prepared for the storm and a potential power outage, so he was able to come mall trick or treating with us.  Yay!

We blew out of the car, literally as the wind whipped the doors open and were hit by cold, cold rain as we ran inside. Despite looking like drowned rats, we were good to go. Andrew decided to recycle his Headless Horseman costume from a couple years ago and Lily went as Minnie Mouse.

We've been working on teaching her to say "Trick or Treat" and her version is "Chicken Treat" which I am in love with!

Apparently the whole city had this same idea to go to the mall for trick or treating. It was so packed and basically a long, long line for a little bit of candy for each of the kids. Think slow moving conga line around each floor of the mall going from store to store. 

 Lily had walked along in line holding her Daddy's hand happily throughout the night. As we made our way around half of the top floor, we got to a stopped part of the line by the food court. There were a couple little kids around age 4 or 5 dressed like Spiderman stopped near where we were and I saw a mom cover her kid's eyes when she saw Andrew's costume. I laughed as I told George what I saw and he jokingly said to Andrew, "You should walk over to them."

I started to fix Andrew's costume near his eyes at that moment as George said, "Where's Lily?"

I immediately looked by his leg where she was JUST standing holding his hand literally seconds ago and frantically scanned around amidst all of our legs of our group of 10 of us aside from Lily and she was gone.

I immediately started running back the way we had come {behind us} as random people in line were saying "Minnie? She went that way." pointing back. I went back close enough to George to yell, "I can't find her!!!" and then kept running back looking for her among a mass of people waiting in line for trick or treating. Only it wasn't like a single file line but a group of people in lines.  More people than I could possibly easily spot my 2 year old who I'm almost certain was grinning from ear to ear shouting "run run" as she sent me into a panic.  

I kept running, asking if anyone had seen a pink 2 year old Minnie and kept getting, "She went that way" still pointing back.  Panic was beginning to set in for me.  {as I'm typing this now even a day later, my heart is literally pounding out of my chest and I can barely see through my tears}

I got all the way near an anchor store at one end of the mall the whole time thinking, "She could NOT have gotten this far." 

At the escalator, there was a mall security guard and a police officer standing there looking over the balcony at the bottom level. I grabbed them and screamed, "I'm missing my daughter! She's 2, dressed in a pink Minnie Costume!"
The cop asked me where I saw her last and then radioed that a 2 year old in a pink Minnie Costume was missing between the Food Court and Macy's. 

At that time George and Andrew had made it to me as I shouted again, "I can't find her!!!" Right then a woman shouted, "I got her!" and there. she. was.  Praise the Lord! 

I grabbed her as she was looking up at the woman annoyed that this person was holding her from running. I heard the cop say over the radio, "She's been found." admist all the chaos of where we were.
Lily excitedly said, "Mama!" as she hugged me and then George scooped her up to hug her and carry her back to where Stef and Amber and the rest of the kids were.  Andrew walked with me behind George and Lily as I tried to process what had just happened and he kept saying, "That was so scary. I'm so glad we found her." I cried. George almost threw up.  I watched Lily look at her Daddy then put her head on his shoulder and later learned he was telling her she has to stay with Mommy and Daddy and we were so scared. 

This all took place in about 3 minutes time from "Where's Lily?" to finding her.  It felt like a lifetime.

The red X on the left is where we were. The red X on the right is where we found her.

I don't think it really had sunk in yet for me.  Honestly, one of the scariest moments of my entire lifetime.  My greatest fear is someone taking one of my children.

Stef, Amber and their kids were also really scared and so happy we all returned with Lily!  At that point we were done trick or treating. After an attempt to allow the kids, including our Lily to run off energy we headed to the play area, but quickly decided it was also too chaotic and after the last few minutes, so we headed to McDonald's to eat together before all heading home.

After we got home and Lily was safely tucked in bed, the reality hit me pretty hard. I cried a lot and when George said, "Can you imagine if we had to come home without her tonight?" the possibility of how close she was to an exit that someone could have simply left with her so easily terrified me.

There were a lot of prayers and praising going on as we went to bed last night.  

This was most definitely a reminder that in an instant, life can change.  Lily is such an independent little one and she is so fast. She had no idea. She was just happy to run and it literally happened in seconds. Letting go of her Daddy's hand, he said something to Andrew and we looked down and she was gone. SECONDS. 

I'm so, so grateful our story has a happy ending.

she must be thanking God...I know I was


  1. Hugs. Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

    This too has happened to us with Logan when he was 2. In the aviary. It is scarier than real words can say. Sorry that you experienced it and I have tears in my eyes reading. How a few minutes of true terror can feel like an eternity!

    Life changes in the blink of an eye, you are so correct about that. xoxox

  2. I cant even imagine what you felt :( reading this brings tears to my eyes.And they have no idea how much it scares the bejezus out of us or that they even did wrong

    As I already told you I am so so so so glad you were able to find her. xoxo

  3. Holy Moses that was scary just reading about it and I knew the ending! That she's safe. Thank God! I too know this feeling.

  4. She isn't even my kid and that was several of the most terrifying moments I have experienced. I was thanking God when I saw George carrying her over. Uh...next year let's stick to Trick or Treating at Target. LOL! It was good to see you and your family, though.

  5. I have been there with Chuckie. We were in Target and he disappeared and we had to call a Code Adam and it was a full 10 minutes before we found him....hiding from me!! I cried so hard.
    I felt my heart rate increasing as I was reading this. So happy she was found quickly (and yes it feels like an eternity!)

    Have a safe and happy Halloween!

  6. Oh my. My heart was racing reading that!

    Glad it all turned out ok!

  7. Wow! Scary, but so glad it turned out ok for you and Minnie is safe! xoxo

  8. So scary! I cannot imagine the terror and would be okay if I never did. I am glad there were so many good people helping you find Minnie, we need more like them. It amazes me what toddlers can do in a matter of seconds. I am so glad this story has a happy ending, Lily makes the world a brighter place:)