you must forgive me for sharing this. i do so for memory sake. i want to remember that first time that my heart stopped and i felt like sobbing in public. amber, claire, everett, and i were out doing a little Christmas shopping. claire had just had a poopy diaper so i had taken her out to the car to change her while amber and everett continued to roam the store. claire and i returned with no problems. a second later, claire announced that she was poopy again. we were just about done shopping, so i told her that we would change her again as soon as we were back in the car. so amber and i went back to discussing whatever it was we were talking about while claire walked away. five, maybe ten seconds later, i go to get a visual on claire who had just turned the corner of the aisle we were on. i peek around the corner and claire is nowhere to be seen.
i didn't think anything of it at first. i look down the next aisle. nothing. i check the next aisle. nothing. i turn around and look down the next few aisles the other way. nothing. i then yell to amber and ask if she sees claire. amber says no and begins her frantic search. i thought, "maybe she's playing hide and seek", which is a favorite game of her's these days. so i run over to the clothing section (because she loves to hide in the middle of those clothing display racks) and start calling her name. nothing. amber tells me that she's heading up to the customer service desk. i see the Christmas display section all the way on the other side of the store and think that she might have headed that way, so i run full sprint over there. nothing. at this point, i'm frantically running down aisle after aisle, and i am more scared than i have ever been.
finally i turn a corner and see claire with a tearful amber. our theory is that claire had decided to head out to the car to get her diaper changed. a customer had found her near the doors of the store, and had handed her off to an employee. when amber saw claire, amber broke down crying. the wonderful employee comforted amber and handed claire back to her. and the whole time, all claire would say is "poopy", over and over again. amber was a little worried the employee wouldn't even give her claire because claire didn't even seem to acknowledge her as her mommy. just "poopy". but after five minutes of pure and absolute terror, we had our angel back.
now i hear stories of this happening all the time, but it's something different when it's you. and i realize that odds are this won't be the last time something like this happens. but this was a first for us, and i would love, LOVE, it to be the last. our gratitude could not be more. we are so thankful to have our girl back. for just a moment, the thought entered my mind, "what if we lost her for good?" and that thought scared me to tears. we are so thankful to have her. we are so thankful to that customer and that wonderful employee who comforted claire and amber. above all, we are thankful to our loving Heavenly Father, who was watching over us, who is always watching over us, and is making sure that everything will be okay.