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Madeleine, lost & found Madeleine, lost & found
Yesterday, I experienced the scariest 5 minutes as a parent to date.  I thought I would be able to get this out in writing... Madeleine, lost & found

Yesterday, I experienced the scariest 5 minutes as a parent to date.  I thought I would be able to get this out in writing last night, but it has taken me until now to be able to recover from the panic I felt and the sheer terror that was coursing through my body for the remainder of the day yesterday.

The morning started out so nice.  One of my closest friends came over with her 3 kids and we headed to a little community day event.  We had hot dogs and the kids played in the playground and we got to chat in little broken bits and pieces (as one does with 5 kids between 2 mamas).

I treated the girls to popsicles and a really fun dance demonstration started about half way into the popsicle-eating.  The kids were all invited to come dance and Portia and Madeleine both got right in there.  It was so cute watching my little 2.5 year old and 4.5 year old getting into the dancing and stumbling through the moves.  It got to be too much for little Madeleine and she came over to me with a popsicle melting down her arm.

I looked over at Portia and noticed her popsicle melting down her arm too as she danced, so I went and relieved her of it.  I took Madeleine’s as well, wiped her hands and face with a baby wipe and scanned the area for a garbage bin because now I was the one holding two melting popsicles and dirty wipes.

I turned to walk about 10 steps to the garbage can and by the time I turned back around to walk back to Madeleine, my stomach had already sunk because I couldn’t see her standing beside the stroller where I had left her.  I told my friend right away that Madeleine wandered off and she started walking around the park searching frantically too.

A minute turned into two and it was feeling like WAY too much time.  I started panicking.  And my hands were shaking.  I was asking strangers if they had seen my little 2 year old and another way-too-long minute went by.  It had now been 3 minutes too long.

The music stopped. The dancing stopped.  All I heard over the microphone was “We have a missing child”.

And that missing child was my child.  My baby.

Deeper fear crept in and I had enough time to play through every terrible situation every parent has nightmares about.

She fell somewhere and hurt herself.  She walked out into traffic.  SOMEONE TOOK MY BABY GIRL!!!

I had to get up there in front of about 100 (maybe 150 people), with a trembling voice and admit that I had lost my baby.  “She’s blonde.  Her name is Madeleine.  She’s wearing a blue and white striped shirt.  She was right here with me.”

Four sentences a parent never ever wants to announce over a loud-speaker.  I promise you that.

“MADELEINE.  MADELEINE.  MA-DE-LEINE”  was all I heard next and through teary, blurred vision, I watched everyone around me jogging around calling my teensiest’s name out.  All the adults there.  All the little kids there too.

From across the park, I watched a woman running toward me with Madeleine in her arms.

It took every ounce of the being I had left in me to keep my feet planted on the ground and not collapse to my knees.  I wanted to break down in a crying, shivering heap but was very aware of the 100+ strangers watching me grab Madeleine from the woman’s arms who found her.  All that came out of my mouth was “we found her.  Oh my god, we found her”.  And I hope I thanked the woman properly, because looking back on it all, I can’t even remember if I did.  (If by some random chance you are reading this… THANK YOU THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER THANK YOU!)

I hope no parent ever has to go through what I went through yesterday. The panic, the questioning, the doubt that crept in.

Madeleine had left the park and was walking down the street.  I’m wondering if she knew how close we were to home and she decided to try and walk back.  I really don’t know.  All I know is that for the longest 5 minutes of my life, Madeleine was lost!

Then found.

Jessica Blumel

Nice to meet you! I'm Jessica a.k.a North Shore Mama. This site was born out of my love for my daughters and the desire to share my motherhood journey with fellow moms. I believe we're all in this craziness called 'parenthood' together and North Shore Mama is my way of reaching out to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry or dinner inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Erica

    August 16, 2015 #1 Author

    That is the worst feeling EVER. So glad to hear she is safe!


  • Hanneke

    August 16, 2015 #2 Author

    Happy to hear she is safe and sound. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s a good reminder how quickly this can happen. This could easily happen to any parent.


  • Heather

    August 17, 2015 #3 Author

    OMG! I’m in tears. So glad she was found okay!


  • Christine

    August 17, 2015 #4 Author

    glad she’s back. I went through something similar when my 3 year old ran ahead and hopped into an elevator at the Fairmont in Whistler…pressed a button…and he went. I went for help. I didn’t know who he’d meet(fortunately on the 6th floor a mom saw him…and she figured out what happened and told him that she was bringing him back to mom). Glad all turned out ok.


    • Jessica Blumel

      August 17, 2015 #5 Author

      Oh my goodness! That’s SO SCARY! Sorry you went through that! Thank goodness for good people! :)


  • Sarah Kilmartin

    August 17, 2015 #6 Author

    This had me in tears… every Momma’s worst fear :(


  • Lyndene

    August 17, 2015 #7 Author

    Oh how scary!!! So glad she was okay.


  • angela

    August 21, 2015 #8 Author

    scary :(


  • Courtney

    August 22, 2015 #9 Author

    Oh how awful. I’m glad it was only 5 minutes. Isn’t it amazing to see strangers come together in situations like this?


  • Judy Cowan

    August 23, 2015 #10 Author

    Scary! I can only imagine the panic that you felt. I am so glad she was found safe!


  • Cheryl

    September 23, 2015 #11 Author

    Nothing worse than the feeling!! If only for a few seconds!!


  • Garcy

    November 6, 2015 #12 Author

    There are Angela among us!


  • Garcy

    November 6, 2015 #13 Author

    There are angels among us! So glad she’s safe, almost a nightmare come true!


  • Patricia

    November 27, 2015 #14 Author

    So scary, glad everything turned out fine. They are so quick at that age.


  • Jennifer Schaeffers

    December 23, 2015 #15 Author

    Happened to me at Terra Nova Park with my 3 year old. Thought he was with his dad and his dad thought he was with me. A mother found him in the parking lot and he was gone for 20 mins. I know that feeling and in my 37 years I have never felt the pure panic and fear I did at that time. Thank god another mother was looking out – as Mama’s we all should do this!


    • Jessica Blumel

      December 26, 2015 #16 Author

      Ugh! It gives me shivers to remember the feeling. I’m sorry you have gone through it too. I am so hyper-aware now whenever I’m out with the littlest in public places. Maybe it was just a reminder that was needed. And yes- we mamas should all be looking out for each other because, these things just happen!


  • Kristy

    January 31, 2016 #17 Author

    Horrible! It’s great that it worked out okay, and hopefully it never happens again!


    • Jessica Blumel

      January 31, 2016 #18 Author

      Thank you Kristy! I, too, hope it never happens again :)


  • Gord

    March 18, 2016 #19 Author

    Scary moments indeed. They seem to last for way too long.


  • Lisa Bunnage

    April 16, 2017 #20 Author

    Funny Story:

    Lost sight on my son once at the supermarket. My heart jumped into my throat, there was a ringing in my ears, everything sort of slowed down into a dream-like state, and I couldn’t see anyone or anything around me as it was in a blur as my eyes scoured around trying to spot my child.

    I was just about to run screaming for help when I realized he was just on the other side of the shopping cart, lol.


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