We headed South for Thanksgiving this year. We love Florida - all times of the year, yes that includes the summer. Tropical climates are not for everyone but they are for US! Anyway, enough with my cheerleading for Florida. We went to Venice - where we use to live and stayed with Ryan's parents. They have a pool and the kids spent almost all of there time in there. We did pull them away from the pool twice (1) Thanksgiving dinner which we actually ate at a restaurant - it was ok but probably won't do it again (I didn't want to spend an entire day of our four day vacation making food); (2) a trip to Busch Gardens.
While we had a nice time at Busch Gardens and the weather was perfect, we did run into some trouble. Audrey was standing with Nathan looking at the elephants when she started hopping all over the place and crying. I quickly discovered that she was being bitten by red ants. We were able to have her looked at and cared for at a first aid station. Nathan rode his first roller coaster ever. I don't know that he actually enjoyed the experience he said something about closing his eyes and waiting for it to be over. While Ryan and Nathan were off at the roller coaster we went in to the kid section of Busch Gardens. I will start this by explaining that there is only one way in and out. Audrey was playing in the jump around lily pad water area when Ryan and Nathan arrived. They went off to a four story jungle gym. I had not noticed Audrey poking her head around the water area anymore so I went to investigate. She was gone. No one had seen her leave and the "workers" stationed inside the area said they had not seen her in quite awhile. Other mothers started to notice my panic and started telling me what to do - much appreciated. I talked to a security employee who said, "yeah this happens all of the time. Look around for her for awhile and if you don't find her I will alert park security." I started to walk away when one mom who happened to overhear sent me directly back to tell her to alert park security now and then I will continue to look for her. What seemed like an eternity later I noticed Audrey on the third floor of the jungle gym. The fastest way to her was to go across this long rope bridge that was also three stories off the ground. I yelled her name and took off running, losing both of my sandals in the process. When I made it across the bridge Audrey had moved. Then another mother started carrying her down a flight of steps asking, "Is this her." I grabbed her, hugged her and cried. Audrey was wiping away my tears and was not happy that I was crying because, "she saw daddy and she went off to find him but made some friends and decided to play."
Looking back at the experience I think "Way to go Mommies" it was the mothers in the park that were so helpful in finding Audrey. I imagine most of the employees at the park do not have children of their own and have obviously never lost them. And while yes I am sure children wander from their parents everyday, I don't lose my children everyday! So yes, this is an emergency right now - not when I have looked for any amount of time. Then I have to smile at the memory of the mom carrying Audrey down to me asking "is this her?" Because what if it wasn't and she just started picking up any little blonde girl bringing her to me so that I could check! Oh my dear Audrey cancer couldn't take you from me so you had better believe I couldn't possibly lose you at an amusement park.