I wasn’t going to write about this. It’s not my proudest moment as a parent… but then I thought maybe just maybe it might help someone else to learn what I did.
This weekend at a theme park I took my girl to the restroom. I’m a dad of two girls and at some point they don’t want to go to the boys room anymore. So I took the 7yo and stood right outside the women’s room door like I do. Some people came and went. I waited outside and did my little “doing ok?” shout through the door. It was taking a long time. My wife texted me and asked where we were. I told her I was waiting. Finally I saw a cleaning person walk out and I asked if there was a little girl inside.
She looked and then another mom who heard me asking looked… both said “no”.
I’ve been standing right outside the ENTIRE time… right outside… what the what. Now I’m about to have a major freak out. In a nano-second so many thoughts go through your head… what happened… where is she… did I miss her somehow.. HOW did I miss her. HOW.
I frantically ask the cleaning person, “Is there another exit to this restroom somewhere???” And she pointed in the other direction. Holy crap. Sorry ladies but I sprinted through the women’s room, past the stalls and the sinks, and out another entrance that I didn’t even know was there. I looked to the left. I looked to the right. And thank god. There was my little girl with tears in her eyes. And I hugged her. And she hugged me. She told me she knew I was waiting for her so she stayed right there, thankfully.
But I had NO idea there was another restroom entrance or exit… none… and she got confused about which entrance she had used. It’s another thing to worry about in the future I guess… at least to keep an eye on… to always check and make sure I know there’s only one way in and one way out. I just assumed there was… and it could have been a very costly mistake. So many could haves.
After I shared this on Facebook there was an outpouring from parents all over.. people whose heart sank when I realized she was missing, to others who’ve had similar scary incidents, and even those commending us that our daughter knew enough to stay right there and wait.
We discussed this with our daughter afterwards and turned a scary moment into a learning moment.. a learning moment for she… and for me.
Share this with other parents if you think it would be helpful.