A Code Adam was called for Ella yesterday.
All doors in Barnes & Noble are locked. Employees are all around, looking and watching. I am frantically searching the store, calling Ella's name. The music is stopped. It is amazingly quiet in the store. Customers eyes on me. All I can hear, aside from my pounding heart, are the thoughts "she can not be gone." And then I hear it. My friend Deidre on the other side of the store yells, "Laura! I found her!" I, of course, run to her and scoop Ella up. Deidre tells me Ella was hiding underneath the train table. All I can say between my sobs is, "Oh, Deidre." I am bawling, squeezing Ella so tightly.
It's amazing is how quickly it happened. Deidre and I took our kids to Barnes & Noble for a play date. We were sitting in the Children's section, with the babies in the strollers by us and the older three kids running and playing around us. As you can imagine with two three-year-olds and a four-year-old, we were constantly telling them to stay by us as they tried running through the aisles. Well, they all took off yet again down an aisle towards the other side of the kids' section. We both jumped up and yelled for them to come back to where we were and Camden and Deidre's little girl turned right around. Ella, my headstrong child, kept on going. She disappeared behind an aisle, so while Deidre stayed with the other three, I went to fetch Ella. I didn't see her anywhere. I looked all around the section (or so I thought) and asked Deidre if she sees her anywhere. Nope. I run to check the bathrooms, and scan the back half of the store. Nothing. As I make my way to the front doors (my first instinct is to make sure no one is leaving with her), I call to an employee "I can't find my little girl. She's three. If you see her, keep her here." I'm calling her name and start feeling my heart in my throat. I walked back to Customer Service and quickly tell them her name and what color shirt she had on. One lady says to call a Code Adam, so they did over the loudspeaker and you read the rest above. What an incredibly horrible feeling.
I am thanking GOD that my kids are safe and sound. In a matter of seconds, your entire world can turn upside-down. By the way... she said she hid under the table and didn't answer my calls, because she didn't want to leave. Ooooh children! Didn't know if I wanted to kiss her or ground her for life.
I kissed her, of course.