There is nothing more exciting and heart pounding then stepping from the train into the realm of the North Pole! That is, until you realize you have lost your daughter.
Last week I wrote about our amazing time up at the North Pole and it was unbelievably out of this world, except for the 10 minutes we couldn’t find Ada. You see INSIDE Santa’s Workshop is loads of things…for starters about 50+ Elves and likely close to a hundred families – so lots of parents – lots and lots of kids and basically people EVERYWHERE. For the majority of the time, our crew (7 kids and 6 adults) stayed in the same general vicinity…scampering over to Santa, the Elves and the stage a few times, but always coming back (or being carried back in Phoenix’s case several times!).
All was going well – everyone was happy and jolly singing Christmas carols together. It was beautiful and as the last song came to an end, so too did our time together up at the North Pole and people began exiting the building while still caroling. Before I could families all around us were standing up and where Ada, Erik and Phoenix had been – only Erik and his Dad and Phoenix stood now. “Hmmmm, she must be right around here”, I thought to myself and began scanning left to right. Nothing. “Tommy, do you have Ada?”, no he replies. “She was just with Phoenix”. “I don’t have her and she wasn’t with Phi”, I quickly respond. “Shit.”
While Tommy takes Phoenix and makes sure he’s got eyes on Conor, I jump into what is now a river of people flowing smoothly out the door with a Christmas-sy shuffle. “Ok”, I tell myself, “you cannot panic, but where the f*** is my daughter?”. I struggle to get through the clenches of families without causing a stir, eyes darting left – right – down – anywhere. I break out into the cold night air and see ALL the Elves, but no Ada. I run back in against the current (bad idea) and find Tommy with hopeful eyes. “Did you find her?” we both ask the other.
“I’ve looked everywhere in here – behind every curtain and in every row. She’s not in here”, Tommy tells me.
Instantly and without a backward glance I make my way out again and this time I am moving. I see my Sister in Law with her boys as I walk out and tell her we can’t find Ada. She didn’t come to the bathroom with us and she wasn’t in there she quickly informs me. “Ok, she’s gotta be outside somewhere. Way up here in the middle of nowhere; in the middle of the woods and it’s cold.” Don’t panic my brain is screams at me. “Just walk down the winding path and look at and in between everyone.” So, that’s what I do. Did I mention I was also looking for burlap sacks…really what is wrong with me!? I slowly jog down the side of the path looking up and down and in between all the beautiful families singing Christmas carols and having an absolute perfect ending to their North Pole extravaganza.
About halfway down, I just can’t take it anymore. I am near tears and truly starting to panic internally…as I run through the “North Pole” gate, I see the train, more and more Elves and there, just past the Elves and families heading to the train, are two more Elves with the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen…Ada. As our eyes lock, the two of us run towards one another, our fear and relief melting together.
“She was very, very brave”, said one of the Elves. “Oh, thank you! Thank you so much”, I cry to them as Ada buries her head into my neck. “This happens more often than you would think”, they say to me. “Really?!” is all I can manage and secretly I think they are just saying this to me so I don’t feel like the absolute worst parent on Earth, never mind the North Pole.
Ada has always been and continues to be an adventurer and little wanderer. I am sure in her 3-year old brain – people all around her were singing and then they all began to move and before she knew it she was out the door and walking down the slope singing and making music, till she thought to look around and realized we weren’t anywhere near her.
It is such a hard thing as a parent to give your kid(s) a long leash and it’s something Tommy and I are huge believers in. Of course, this night definitely shook us both and reaffirmed for me that as much as I want and need to give them their distance, I need to invent another set (or two) of eyes for myself and perhaps every parent out there!
Thankfully it didn’t shake Ada’s core and she is as adventurous as ever!
xoxo, Burban Momma