I thought we lost Ethan once. When he was almost two. He was there and then he wasn’t. And as horrible, as heart wrenching, as sick as that feeling makes me feel, I still feel it every single time I think about it.

We were at a family get together at a restaurant. My brother had been working in Hawaii for months – almost a year I think – and he it was for his homecoming. I was 7 months pregnant with the twins, and Ethan was 19 months.

My sister Angie, 8 months pregnant. And me, 7 months pregnant with the twins.

My sister Angie, 8 months pregnant. And me, 7 months pregnant with the twins.

All four of my siblings were there with their children, as well as my parents and a scattering of friends. It was a big group. Since the weather was nice, we chose to sit outside on the patio.

We ate. We laughed. We had fun. The kids ran around. We took lots of pictures. It was a really nice evening.


Ethan, 19 months. Before he disappeared.

And one second, Ethan’s over against the railing playing with his cousin. The next second, he is gone.

Totally and completely gone. Disappeared.

I asked Jason if he’d seen him. No but he was just here, he said. WHERE IS ETHAN?, I shouted to everybody. Nobody had seen him.

Jason and my brothers and brothers-in-law all scattered, running through the restaurant and into the bar. Asking people having dinner and the waiters and waitresses if they’d seen a little boy in a blue shirt walk by. None of them had.

At the time, I was 7 months pregnant with the twins and supposed to be on bed rest. Doctor’s orders said no strenuous activity, and to stay off my feet as much as possible. It didn’t matter – I didn’t even think about it. I ran directly into the parking lot.

I remember how the parking lot seemed to endlessly stretch into the horizon in all directions. How empty it seemed, though it must have been packed. No cars driving in or out of it. I remember raising up my face to the sun and thinking, “So this is what it feels like to have a child disappear” as the sun warmed my skin and my tears. I remember running to our car, wondering if he had wandered to it looking for us. Had someone opened the gate between the patio and the parking lot and unknowingly had a toddler follow them out?

I remember my belly feeling so heavy, and how I almost just sunk to my knees. I could hear people yelling “Ethan!” still.

And I remember wondering how I could go on to bring home two new babies when Ethan was gone.

I remember.

Then I heard Jason yell “Babe, he’s here!”

This all happened within just a few minutes, maybe five at the most, but I remember it feeling like a lifetime. And I had never felt so empty or guilty.

Turns out my dad got up to use the restroom, and Ethan had followed him into the restaurant, so my dad took him into the restroom with him.

I never, EVER want to know that feeling again. EVER. It is an indescribable feeling that makes me nauseous to remember.

Have you ever lost your child? Isn’t it a horrible feeling that no words can describe?

Mama’s Losin’ It I wrote this post for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop for Prompt #2: Write a post inspired by the word: lost.


  1. I lost my daughter when she was 2 in Target. We were getting my twins 4 month pictures taken and she was gone. The whole store went on lock down while we looked for her. They found her hiding in a clothing rack about 10 minutes later. It was awful! I was terrified that she went outside so I was screaming for her outside. Turns out she ran past 3 employees after she escaped and that's how they found her so quickly. My blood still boils when I think about the fact that 3 employees watched her run right past them and did nothing. 3! Allison B recently posted..The Bachelor Teaches You the Importance of Raising Your SonMy Profile
  2. Yes. My son was two and he went to go look at the cows. We were at the country home and thought the neighbour was watching out kids since he was out there watching his own. We should have asked. He went in to use the bathroom and when he came out, Gabriel wasn't there. We were packing up to leave and didn't notice right away. He was probably gone 20 minutes or a half-hour. The feeling of terror when we realised. I can't describe - you know it. Matthieu finally saw him walking down the country road a long, long way off and he yelled that they had him. All I could do was pray, "God, God, God, God." I couldn't utter a single other word, especially since the hamlet was right next to a busy road and I was terrified that he had wandered down that instead. Terrifying. It still brings tears. Lady Jennie recently posted..EpiphanyMy Profile
  3. It's one of the worst feelings EVER! I bet your dad felt terrible for putting you through that! Kat recently posted..Writer’s Workshop: I’m A Cat WhispererMy Profile
  4. How terrifying. I've lost sight of both my kids for seconds, or maybe minutes, but it was long enough for the soles of my feel to start to feel that numb panicky feeling and for every possible scenario to start to flutter through my mind. I'm so glad everything was ok for you. MJ recently posted..Travellin'My Profile
  5. My brother-in-law took my boys to the playground once without telling us. We were EVERYWHERE shouting their names, and I was frantic. Then, here they came, the three of them, walking up the sidewalk. Worst feeling ever!! Essie recently posted..Storytime: SnowMy Profile
  6. Your poor dad. He must have felt terrible! I have lost sight of my child once or twice when she was little for more than a minute or two. The panic that immediately consumes you in such a short period of time is overwhelming. I'm so glad he was safe! That goes down as the worst feeling ever! Mo recently posted..Finnegan, Finnegan, Wherefore Art Thou Finnegan?My Profile