Everyday our lives are hectic – especially now that it’s summer, it’s hard to juggled all.the.things, especially when it comes to childcare. The other day, my older son had a camp field trip to go bowling, which I COMPLETELY forgot about of course, but as I was dropping him off at the bowling alley (after having dropped off my younger son at his first day of camp), I texted my nanny and said “no need to pick the boys up, I can get them this afternoon” after which I raced home, attempted to squeeze in two hours of work and immediately raced back out the door. My logic behind my madness was this – since I had to run an errand that was really close to the bowling alley, it made sense for me to just pick my older son up, and since I was picking him up, well it just made sense to pick the little one up too. Makes sense right?
My first stop was to go get my younger son, my 3 year old, from his first day camp. So I parked my car, walked up to the camp counselor, smiled and began looking for my son…hmm he was nowhere to be found. I began asking the counselors “have you seen my kid?” Now they’re frantically looking around for him saying “I just saw him a second ago…” while I start to panic as well. Finally his camp counselor came up to me and said “Oh, another woman came to pick him up, she seemed to know him so I let him go with her”
Just try and imagine the look on my face – I thought I was going to punch this young woman in the face – I immediately began questioning her, “Well, did she tell you her name? Did she show you ID? Did she give you a phone number?” To which the counselor said “Well, he seemed to know her too…”. I was livid. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In the back of my mind, I assumed it had been my nanny who had picked him up, she may not have gotten the text, but my heart and my mind were racing. How could they let a child go with a stranger?! What if an abusive parent with a restraining order came to pick up a child?! It doesn’t matter if the child knows the grown up, you can’t just let a child go with whoever he knows!!
I was ready to start yelling, but instead I calmly asked “Excuse me? Did you at least get the woman’s name?” The young woman slowly shook her head ‘no’ with tears welling in her eyes. I immediately called my nanny to ask if she had picked up my 3 year old, to which she said yes. I calmly told the counselor that he was safe and that it was my nanny who picked him up, then I turned, walked back to my car and got in. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming before I closed my car door. I had lived through one of my greatest fears as a mom, and even though my story had a pretty benign and happy ending, I thought my heart was going to come out of my mouth.
Being a mom has brought along a swath of irrational fears, as well as the guilt of having someone else watch my child. I absolutely adore my nanny and know my kids do as well, but my primal fear is something is going to happen to them when I’m not there. Needless to say I sent a stern email to the camp supervisor, and squeezed my 3 year old a bit tighter than usual when I got home.