July 28, 2009

A scary moment...




Wow! I haven't been online for about THREE weeks which is REALLY a long time for this computer junkie! I should congratulate myself!!

We've spent the past three weeks at the seaside where we had a great time, relaxing and seeing friends and family. And though the weather wasn't always on our side, we came back with a little tan, even. We left Paris under a nice blue sky and high temperatures. We didn't have any of those from the moment we hit the beach, however... Windy, cloudy, sunny at some times but also rainy at others and a mere 19°C, ... that's more or less what we had the first week. Things got better after that, with really nice temperatures on most days, but we never got rid of the wind. Luckily, we don't mind a little sea breeze nor a bit of rain. It hasn't kept us from spending most of the time outside, on the beach and in the dunes...

The dunes - we love the dunes (more pictures to come, I promise) even after we've lived our scariest moment in years, in the dunes.
We had just arrived at our little shed at the seaside and put our luggage down, when the girls begged us to go and play a bit before starting to unpack. "Let's go play hide and seek!" Sure! Why not... we can unpack in the morning...

Why not...? We had fun, lots of fun, until at some point, after M. had found both me and K., the three of us couldn't find little H. At first, we thought she just wanted to keep a little suspense in the game - she doesn't like to loose, our littlest one, not to say that she has quite a competitive approach to most things. But, hey, didn't we make it clear that she'd won this round? So, why isn't she showing up?!
We yelled, screamed, looked everywhere, frantically ran up and down the dunes, checked on the beach, near the apartment... Still no H.. Sure, the dunes looked different from last time we were here, with tall and lush green bushes now, and lots of dune grass. But given that it's just a very narrow strip of dunes and that we'd looked everywhere, we started panicking. It would be getting dark soon. What if... I didn't want to think any further. After twenty minutes, we decided we needed to call the police department. I went to get our cell phones, a crying M. running after me: "It's all my fault! Hide and seek was my idea...".
I didn't have the courage to call the police department, handed the phone to K. (detail: my phone was in the leather pouch I made a while back - he couldn't figure out how to open the thing and so ripped off the button...). Two other dads, still on the beach with their children, helped us looking and called their wives, who now were searching the dunes with binoculars from their balconies .
K. had just started to give a full description and details to the police officer on the other side of the line, when all of a sudden I heard a kid crying - in a very familiar way - and almost at the same time M. yelling: "H.! Oh, H., tu étais où? Tu nous a fait peur! Mommy, mommy, I found her! She's here with me!"

There she was, our little girl, about forty minutes later, the scariest forty minutes in a long, long time.
She got lost in the dunes, didn't know where she was and had started panicking herself, thinking that we went back home without her... So she had tried to find us but had been wandering off even more. Poor little thing!
I was more than happy to wipe off those little tears, suppressing my own, so happy to be holding my little girl tight, really tight, her little arms wrapped around me... Luckily, this scary moment only lasted forty minutes and had a good ending...

That said, every year literally hundreds of kids get "lost" on the beach and in the dunes. That's why during summer, poles are posted on the beach with a for kids easy to remember object on top (a boat, ball, banana, house...). To make things even easier wristbands are distributed with the corresponding symbol on it. That way, kids just need to look for the object shown on the wristband, which narrows down the area considerably, when looking for their parents.

If only we would have known we were playing near "the banana", that would probably have kept us from going completely "bananas"...

2 comments:

Andrea said...

Oh my goodness, how terrifying! I am glad you found one another. What a relief!

Elsa said...

so glad you found your little girl, I can only imagine what that must have been like. what a great idea that was done with the familiar object and wrist band! glad to hear that you had a great time at the seaside and your little ones are safe!

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