Things that make a parent's heart pound

by Jennifer on April 17, 2008

Tonight I watched Gone, Baby, Gone on DVD. I rented it last week, but have put off watching it because I knew it would be heavy and sad. (I read the book, by Dennis Lehane, a while ago and knew exactly what to expect.) A child abducted, a careless and screwed up mother, and lots of people looking for the girl, many of whom have motives that are conflicted.

The movie ended, a movie about a child gone missing from her bed, and I could think of nothing I wanted to do more than to kiss Girl and Boy.

I went to Girl’s room first. Her bed was empty. Thinking she had already wandered into my room, as she usually does at some point during the night, I looked in my bed.

It was empty.

Maybe she went to Boy’s room?

Not there.

I checked her room again, to make sure she hadn’t fallen out of bed or wasn’t hidden under the covers. Still, no.

My heart started to pound. Hard. My breaths became shallow and tight. Where the hell is she?

I raced back to check the living room, in case she had curled up on the sofa or my chair while I was looking in other rooms. Not there.

Or in the dining room.

The last possible place to look, and the least likely, I thought, was my office. And there she was, curled up in my desk chair, sound asleep.

Dear god. Of all the nights.

When I picked her up, she wrapped arms and legs around me and her dark curls spilled over my shoulder.

“Can I sleep in your bed?” she whispered. It’s a common request, though I usually try to steer her back to her own room, since (at almost 7) she should probably stay in her own bed.

But not tonight.

I kissed her curls, wrapped myself around her little finger, and said yes.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Tootsie Farklepants April 17, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Oh. My. God. I would have strapped on a Baby Bjorn and stuffed her into it! Good grief.

cce April 18, 2008 at 5:05 am

I’ve not seen the movie but would totally lose it if one of the kids were not in their bed when I went in to give them that light kiss on their sleeping forehead.
Seems like a perfectly good reason to cave in to the co-sleeping for just one more night!

AMomTwoBoys April 18, 2008 at 5:40 am

I’ve been instructed to NOT watch that movie for many, many, many years. It’s on my Netfl*x anyway, though. Which I’m sure I’ll come to regret.

I would have totally panicked if one of the kiddos had not been in bed.

Madge April 18, 2008 at 6:00 am

you do know that Girl knew you were watching that movie, snuck into the least likely place you would look, and fell asleep with the satisfaction that ,for this night at least, you were totally in her control.

Just Jamie April 18, 2008 at 7:45 am

Timely that I read this post today. I had the kind of dreams last night that make a parent shutter. When I awoke to *both* kids snug in bed with me, rather than being annoyed, I folded myself into them, and took a deep breath.

(Haven’t see the movie. I may not be cut out for it.)

Jenn @ Juggling Life April 18, 2008 at 8:03 am

I am still thinking about that movie and I saw it about 6 weeks ago.

Someday I will blog about a missing child experience I had that actually involved the police. He was 14 and it was almost a year ago and I practically collapse again thinking of it.

Daryl E April 18, 2008 at 8:17 am

I can only imagine how terrified you were … I dont think I want to see that movie… the book/movie Freedomland were more than enough for me.

Lisa Milton April 18, 2008 at 8:37 am

The final scene haunts me. Tough stuff…

Snuggle with that girl; it’s good for the heart.

liv April 18, 2008 at 10:58 am

seriously. i know this feeling. and usually i find them buried in my covers. but still, there are a few moments that i freak. totally.

JCK April 18, 2008 at 11:15 am

Can’t replace those snuggles! Especially after a near heart attack…

On the sleeping in their own bed subject, my BOY slept through the night 2 nights ago! Grand celebration here. First time since September…

HRH April 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

And this is the moment when your heart stops. I don’t think I could ever watch that movie.

Candy April 18, 2008 at 11:44 am

Wow…talk about heart-stopping.

I have that same movie on my coffee table, reluctant to put it in the DVD player. Maybe this weekend, but I really need laughs not tears this weekend.

rima April 18, 2008 at 11:55 am

I had a similar experience once, too, and the V-meister turned out to be sleeping on the floor of her closet. But I can only imagine how much more frightening it would have been after watching a movie like that! In fact, I steer away from books and movies involving situations like that altogether. I just can’t take even thinking about it.

Mrs. Chili April 18, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I love saying yes to my daughters. At 9 and 11, they’re giving me fewer and fewer opportunities to say it, so it becomes all the sweeter when I can.

Tell me – do you think he made the right choice at the end? I saw the movie MONTHS ago, and I’m STILL thinking about it….

Jules~ April 18, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I haven’t seen that movie but from what you say, I would have been just as worried.
What is more sweet and precious that our little ones wanting to sleep with us?

Nicole P April 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Oh Yay!! I got on, but now I forgot what I was going to say in my comment!!
Well, I think that all parents have those fears. When I was in Richmond Va recently, I gave my husband a lengthy lecture on the proper way to supervise a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old in public. I am terrified of something happening to one of our kids and never take my eyes off of them….well outside of our house anyways.

molly April 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm

OK, I don’t think I can see that movie. I would be way freaked. How cute that she fell asleep in the chair! Can’t be comfortable.

Kellan April 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Oh, I’d have said yes too – what a fright!!!

Have a good weekend, Jennifer – see you soon – Kellan

Betsy Bird April 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm

That would be scary anytime, but especially after watching that movie. We saw it last weekend. I didn’t remember the book being so bleak. I agree with a previous commenter — the last scene left me feeling sick.

Hatchet April 18, 2008 at 7:35 pm

I hadn’t heard of that movie before this and I can tell you right now that I won’t be watching it.

I’ve almost lost my eldest in a store (little bugger went through the other EXIT!) and almost lost my mind. It only took a moment of distraction and she was gone. I freaked out all over her when I found her outside the store and had my husband explain why mommy was in an hysterical puddle of tears on the floor (while very pregnant).

Yeah. So that movie? Not for me. Your fear? Totally with you, felt it. Hate it. I’d’ve probably gotten her brother in there for a snuggle, too. : )

Suzanne April 18, 2008 at 9:53 pm

my heart was actually beating faster as you went through the rooms.

yep, it was definitely a snuggling night after that one. good for you and Girl.

hope you both wake full of sunshine and nary a memory. and take the damn movie back to the store!


Mrs. G. April 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm

I am such a sucker for the “can I sleep with you” request. Even with my kids being older. I realize these days are numbered.

Melissa April 19, 2008 at 5:46 am

Oh yeah, my heart would be in my throat too. What a horrible feeling. I’ve had to look for children too and while I know logically they’re to be found, it is still a panicky feeling. And I am a sucker for them wanting to be in my bed, too. (Not every night, but on occasion)

the mama bird diaries April 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

I skipped that movie although i heard it was amazing.

So scary not to be able to locate your little girl. I’ve had that momentary panic on the playground and it is so terrifying.

Carolyn April 19, 2008 at 5:03 pm

This post made my heart pound. Eeeeek.

Crazycath April 20, 2008 at 10:29 am

Of course you said yes. I would too. Of all nights…

You wrote this well – I could feel your fear. Like any parent would. Glad she was ok.

andi April 20, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Hooray, your server is alive!

Anyway, to the sad topic at hand – I totally know what you’re talking about. I don’t think I can watch this movie. When I saw Hotel Rwanda when Elliot was a baby the thought of all those children dying upset me so much I had to go into her room and kiss her while she was sleeping.

Coco April 23, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Oh Lordy. Yeah, that “WHERE IS MY KID?” deal equals instant heart attack around here too.

And of course you said yes. I think we all would.

Milena April 25, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Ditto for the comment that Tootsie Farklepants wrote. i never watch movies that show children getting hurt or disappearing. I just can’t stand it. Every mother’s nightmare as you say.

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