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Hiding Will
2007-12-23 - 4:18 p.m.

Will scared the shit out of me last night.

We had gone with our friend Tony for a nice family dinner at Stone Forge, early, as that's the best time to be there with a four-year-old. Dinner was wonderful. My mom and I both had filet mignon with lobster butter and garlic mashed potatoes. My mouth is still watering, just thinking of it. Anyway, dinner was over, the check was paid, and we were wrestling ourselves back into our jackets and surveying the holiday decorations on our way to the door.

My mom noticed the contest sign first. Apparently, different teams of staff members (the bartenders, the waitresses, the kitchen staff, etc.) had decorated each of seven wreaths, and they were asking for our votes to chose the best one. As I stuck my entry form into the box, I realized Will was gone.

A quick survey of the area and the other adults confirmed that he was nowhere to be found, and my heart stopped. Kirk went toward the bathroom, Tony to the parking lot, and my mom and I started through the restaurant from opposite sides. We met back in the middle by the hostess station, both Will-less.

I grabbed the manager as he was handing a re-sealed bottle of wine off to another couple. "My four-year-old has disappeared in the restaurant!"

The look of horror on his face had just begun to sink in when the woman next to me grabbed my arm. "I think he's in there," she said, gesturing toward a closed door none of us had noticed. The coat room. I sped off, my heart in my throat.

As I opened the door, I could hear the chuckle coming from under the hangers. It was well-lit enough that I could just make out the "I found a great hiding place" grin on his face. When I spotted him, my stomach turned over. Filet mignon with lobster butter doesn't taste so good a second time.

About halfway to the car, it finally sunk in to him that I wasn't playing, that he'd done something really wrong, that the look on my face wasn't pretend. And then he started to cry. "I'm sorry, Mummy! I didn't mean to scare you" he choked out between tears.

Sometimes, being a mother isn't so much fun.

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