We've all been in the mall, grocery story or the park when for one split-second, a parent realizes that they can't find their child. We've seen the shock, slight-horror and panic set in when that split-second turns into anything more. Well, tonight, in the middle of Hibbett, that parent was me.

After I picked up Carsyn from the sitter, we headed back into town to run a few errands. Being that my car was packed full, I didn't feel like shoving her stroller into the back. (Big mistake!) So, I thought we'd try out me holding my two-and-a-half year-old daughter's hand through the mall. And, really, she did pretty good!

We were in Hibbett when I ran into a friend of mine. (This friend, by the way, had three children with her and didn't seem to misplace any of them!) One of her children is a little girl just about Carsyn's age, so of course, they were entertaining themselves. She and I were talking about who knows what when I realized I couldn't see Carsyn. Normally, it takes about two seconds and I find her...not this time.

Just about the time I'm having to tell myself not to panic, I feel the bottom of my stomach just about fall out. I'm telling myself that she's ok and not to flip out, but it's really not that easy! As any of y'all that have been to our mall know, there are some riding toys right outside of Hibbett. So, I checked there first. Nope, no Carsyn.

I'm, of course, yelling her name pretty loud so that if she hears me she knows to find me, but not in a tone where she thinks she's in trouble. I'm starting to freak out. I know that I was going over in my head what outfit she had on and those thoughts weren't really helping out at all. Right before I was ready to ask the associate to call security, I see a man and a young girl trying to get my attention from outside the store. I could tell they were pointing toward her, but I couldn't find her.

At this point, I'm starting to breathe again, but still don't see her. Then, I hear him say, "She's in with the mannequins." The display is partially blocked off from the store, so she had to wiggle to even get in there. When I FINALLY saw her, she had a backpack on her shoulder and told me to say hello to her friends. (You know, the two mannequins with no heads! Ha!)

I know that I was trying to be calm and not be mean to her, but trying to explain to a toddler why we don't run away is pretty difficult!

Once we left, I was pretty shocked at how calm I was... then, we went to Target. For some reason, in the middle of an aisle, Carsyn looked at me and said,"Mommy, I no run away anymore." Welp, that did it! It took everything I had not to let the tears loose right there in aisle D42. Poor little thing knew that I was upset. Well, that was about 7:00pm and it's 11:38pm right now and I'm still crying! Ha!

I can not imagine what it would be like to feel that feeling for one more second than I did.

So, for the people that were in Hibbett and thought I probably wasn't paying attention to my child, or anyone who saw the basketcase in Target... I apologize. And to the man and young girl who saw her, Thank You So Much!!

It really is SO scary how one second they are right beside you and the next, gone. Or, thank the Lord, in my case... just playing with her new friends in the display case.