After a frightening holiday experience, Donegal mum Maria Rushe thanked her lucky stars for her daughters' matching outfits.
“We won’t get much longer dressing them in matching outfits” says Me to He as we walked along the promenade in Salou. We were on the last night of our holidays and the girls had been wearing beautifully matching outfits every evening for the full week.
With 4 years age difference, I’ve been becoming aware that Mini-Me will soon protest at being dressed identically to her 3 year old sister. And I was OK with that.
But then, something happened that has ensured and concreted the plan in my head, that while we are away in strange places, they shall be wearing matching clothes, until they are AT LEAST 35 years old.
Princess went missing.
Ladybelles. She ran out of our sight and literally disappeared. In an EMPTY FOYER.
She was gone for about 7 minutes. 7 Loooooooooooong minutes. And I can honestly tell you they were the longest, most painfully dreadful 7 minutes of my life. While trying to remain composed to FIND her, my brain had already jumped ahead to what would need to happen to get her found.
We were walking back to our rooms after the entertainment had finished. A friend and his kids were along with us, and as we all waked through the hall to head towards the lifts, I made a MASSIVE mistake. I caught the glint in her eye and said “Wait for Mammy please” which she heard as “Run Princess RUN!”
She scuttled off ahead of us, no more than 20 feet into what we knew was an empty foyer and when we all turned the half corner, there she was…gone.
We started calling. Him belted up the stairs and started running through the halls on each floor, roaring her name. The friend ran straight to the main door to ensure she hadn’t gone outside. I started hitting the buttons for the lifts, automatically all assuming that she’d gone into one of the lifts and that it had gone up with her inside. (Fast closing wee buggers those lifts.)
Mini-Me started to roar and cry and Friend’s kids didn’t know what to do, Wee pets.
She wasn’t outside.
She wasn’t in the lifts.
Every 20 seconds Him stuck his head over another balcony, roaring “Did you get her?” before taking off to the next floor.
Within 1 minute, the hotel staff had locked all the main doors and maybe 5 other dads had joined in the running.
Why will they always be dressing the same? Because every time someone else joined us to help, I was able to point at Mini-Me and say “She’s wearing the same outfit” and off they ran…
Just when I thought it was beyond a case of her innocently getting lost, and was about to step Mental Mammy up a notch, a big bald English guy stuck his head over the balcony and asked “Are you guys playing Hide n Seek with a little girl?”
The poor fecker was greeted with a herd of people running at him and some sort of gutteral wail that I’m pretty sure was coming from my mouth, even though I had no real control at that point.
I took those steps 5 at a time and met Himself on the corner of the big long corridor and there, peeking her curly little fecker head out from behind an corner, was Princess. Half laughing, half terrified and by the time I reached her to scoop her into my arms, half sobbing.
We thanked everyone, went to the room, tucked them in and then did what all parents would do… sat on the balcony like two weins and cried for an hour.
But the scariest thing was that she was with a gang of adults, in a safe place, with no crowds and she still went missing right in front of our eyes.
Next morning, Mini-Me scolded her at breakfast.
“You shouldn’t go into the lift on your own. It’s not funny.”
Princess looked at her as if she were absolutely insulted.
“I did NOT go in the lift” she admonished. “I went up the stairs.” before continuing to eat her porridge as if THAT made it all alright.
Oh well that’s OK then I suppose… Seriously.
Lessons learned? We only think we’re in charge, kids are fast, other parents are incredibly fast at helping when you need it… and matching clothes should be worn at all times, for the foreseeable forever.