Children like to push boundaries. It’s all a part of learning and growing, and unfortunately, sometimes pushing boundaries can lead to a child actually getting lost or harmed.
My story isn’t anything like that, at least for now.
As part of our family travel adventures, we decided to spend a little bit of time visiting with Danger’s extended family for several days in North Georgia. Danger is still getting used to waking up in another house, in another bed, and at another time than she is accustomed to waking. The one constant? That I am right beside her when she wakes up.
You see, at our house, Danger wakes me up every morning with a kiss. She sneaks into my bedroom, climbs into my bed, and whispers sweet words before planting a little kiss on my forehead. That’s a constant. That’s our routine.
On this day, I was not in the room when Danger woke up. No one else was in the house, minus my grandma – who had just fallen, and was the reason why I was not right by Danger’s side.
She was scared, she was confused, and she was sad… and when she couldn’t easily find me, she naturally thought that I had abandoned her. So she did what any headstrong and independent little girl would do – she put on her big girl panties and strutted down the hallway to run away. Except that she didn’t get very far.
At the end of the hallway is a large framed picture of yours truly. I was 18 years old and much much blonder, but Danger recognized the picture and she plopped down and stared at it.
In her haste to get away and start a new life, she realized that being near my picture provided more comfort than the outside world. And yes, maybe she realized that she left her wallet at our house. Either way, running away suddenly didn’t seem so important to my little ‘Danger’ous child.
When Danger finally found me in my grandma’s bedroom, she told me that she ran away, and that she was so scared when she couldn’t find me. I was a little concerned that I had absolutely no idea that she ran away. What if she had actually gotten outside and down the street? What if she had been picked up by a stranger, or attacked by a neighborhood dog? There are so many “what if” dangerous things parents don’t want to think about.
I remember running away when I was a young child. I got all the way down to the street corner, but then turned around because I didn’t want my parents to miss me. I was upset with my parents, but I did not really want to hurt them.
As a parent, I would be just devastated if something happened to my sweet Danger. Even though this was pretty much a non-situation, I can’t help but to consider all of the terrible possibilities that could have happened if my daughter had made it out of the house.
Is this something that every parent worries about? What steps do you take to ensure that your child can not make it out of the house alone? (Doorknob covers? Extra locks? What really works best?)