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Monday, June 28, 2010

Lost and Bound

by Jody Worsham June, 2010 All rights reserved for purchase of GPS

In my infinite wisdom after raising six children and now as a Medicare Mom raising two more, I knew there was a logical and strategic advantage for having all of us wear identical tee-shirts when boarding our ship for the Seven-day-I-deserved-this-twelve-hour-free-baby-sitting-Cruise. One, it identified us as a group of four. Two, it made it easy to spot one of us among the 3,500 guests on board. Three, it would be easy to locate our Welcome Aboard Picture the next day.

I did not count on the swimming pool and giant three story slide being open while the ship was still docked. I had packed the children’s bathing suites in our carry on so that wasn’t a problem. The problem was the sun screen was in the checked luggage. Not to worry, I told the children they could wear their identical-tee-shirts-with-the-map-of-the-USA on them to protect them from the Texas sun.

After about an hour of swimming it was time for the youngest and the oldest to take a nap. The eight-year-old changed into dry clothes and we went exploring.
As we passed the ice cream machine she asked if she could stop and get some. I said “Sure” as I headed four feet away to get some iced tea. It could not have been more than five seconds but somehow we missed each other. I was furious. “She has got to learn to stay with me. Serves her right if she panics for a few seconds,” I said to myself as my heart rate rapidly increased and my breathing became fast and shallow.

Two minutes and thirty seconds passed and no child. “When I find her I’m going to beat her with a big stick or at least a towel,” I mumbled incoherently.
Three minutes and ten seconds passed and still no child. An active imagination is a good thing for a writer, not for a Medicare Mom with a missing eight-year-old. Suddenly every pervert from Serbia to the Philippines was hiding out on this ship and one of them had kidnapped my child and was holding her behind one of the thousands of Crew Only Doors.

I forced reason to prevail. She couldn’t get off the ship. I found the nearest female with a gold name plate.

“I’ve lost my eight-year-old,” I said, wondering where that high pitched screaming voice was coming from.
“What does she look like?”
“Shoulder height, blond pony tail, (and silently wished I could say ‘Wearing a soaking wet tee-shirt like mine) a print tee shirt and blue jean shorts…just like every other eight-year-old on this ship.”
“Well, she can’t get off the ship,” and she walked away.

Reason and logic told me to stay put by the ice cream machine. Panic and terror told me to run like a crazy woman around the deck screaming her name. I gave in to panic and terror temporarily.

Sweat was pouring out from under my big white floppy hat but I didn’t dare take it off. I’m only 5’3”. She would need that hat to find me.
Five minutes and thirteen seconds have passed and still no child. My husband had already turned off his cell phone and I didn’t dare leave the ice cream machine again to locate a phone to call the cabin. All thoughts of towel beatings had been replaced by urgent prayers. In all four previous cruises, we had never lost or luggage or a child.

Finally, after the longest twelve minutes in the history of the world, I saw her coming toward me with two cruise officials in tow. We hugged and hugged and hugged. I asked her what happened. It seems I had not said out loud that I was going for iced tea and she panicked when she didn’t see me and ran out looking for me. I looked around for a big stick for self-flagellation. Then she found a cruise official and told them I was missing.

“Did you tell them I was wearing our special tee-shirt with the USA map on it?”
“No, I forgot. I looked for a white floppy hat. Do you know how many white floppy hats are on this deck?”

So much for identifying tee-shirts and white floppy hats. Maybe I’ll wear a hat with a big orange arrow pointing down next time. Anyway, we didn’t have to worry about losing each other for the rest of the cruise. We were now bound at the hip. What a way to begin a seven day relaxing cruise!


Sharon said...

So scary! But, you made it sound funny. Great job, Jody. Glad to have you back.

Marti said...

Oh Jody, what a terrifying situation! So glad you were reunited and now you can laugh about it!