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My youngest child Cameron was born in 2000 and I have lost him five times. I feel like I should say that in front of some sort of support group. “My name is Jann Franklin and I’ve lost my son five times.” I haven’t lost him since he turned five, and I feel I should get some sort of certificate for that. It was definitely a theme during the first four years of his life.

One would think after the first three times I lost my child that I would have devised some sort of plan to keep it from happening again. The fourth time was not my fault since I was not the one supposed to be watching him. But the fifth time definitely was my fault-I think by this time I’d just given up.

I took the boys to the now defunct Toys R Us. I was buying a birthday gift and I knew exactly what I wanted. I was buying for a girl, so the boys were not exactly thrilled they were being forced to stand in the vicinity of Barbie, baby dolls, and tutus. I promised them as soon as I grabbed the gift we could stand amongst the Legos, Hot Wheels, and other toys that they knew and coveted. My time to select the gift was not quick enough for my youngest though. I turned around and he was gone.

I looked down a couple of aisles on either side of the one I was on, quizzed my oldest who of course knew nothing, then grabbed his hand and headed for the cash registers. I waved at a cashier and asked her to invoke Code Adam since my child was lost. I didn’t mention he was six years old and had already been lost four previous times. I felt that was privileged information.

The cashier called Code Adam over the loudspeaker and the employees sprang into action. It was truly impressive I can tell you. After dealing with other situations in which efficiency was not observed, I can tell you this mom felt secure that her child would be found quickly. And he was.

Cameron tells the story that he announced he was leaving the doll aisle and heading toward the Legos section. Neither his brother or I heard said announcement. But at any rate an alert employee found him gazing at various Lego boxes. I imagine once she heard it was a six year old boy that was lost, she probably hoofed it for the Lego section. She quickly identified him by the description of hair and clothing, took his hand, and led him up to the front. I think this time my kid was lost less than 4 minutes.

By this fifth time I was not even concerned; my emotions had grown used to Cameron being lost, like when you garden consistently or practice a stringed instrument. You grow callouses and there is no pain. Yes, I once again lost my child. Yes once again he was found. Let’s all go home now and have milk and cookies. The customers of Toys R Us however were not as happy. In fact, they were all pretty irritated because all the cashiers at the registers had to leave their posts to go look for my child. He was found quickly and Code Adam was cancelled, but not before the customers were inconvenienced. Judging from the looks on their faces, they were not too impressed with my mothering abilities. So glad I never mentioned how many times Cameron had been lost before.

I try to find lessons to learn in every story, but I honestly have no revelations at this point. I can honestly say I’ve never lost the other kid. I think that should count for something.

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post. Do share-please don’t let me be the only woman who can’t keep track of her kid.

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