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June 26, 2002

One Last Disneyland Anecdote

Jean and Kelly were in a souvenir store on the hotel premises when I came down from the room to join them. We talked about going to Goofy's Kitchen for the character breakfast, and I offered to go there and try to get reservations. Jean asked Kelly "do you want to go with Dad or stay with me?" Kelly answered "stay with you." Why not? The store had all those cool tchatckas.

So I began my walk, expecting to place a reservation and then wait in the lobby of the restaurant for Jean and Kelly to join me. Not ten seconds after I left the store, Kelly is tugging on my shirt. "Oh, you decided to come with me after all?" "Uh huh." Now this is the measure of where I fail as a parent. I didn't even think to ask Kelly if she'd let her mom know that she was coming with me. I didn't assume she told Jean, it just plain didn't occur to me. So we went off to find the restaurant.

I got the reservations, and I was looking to see if Jean had found the restaurant when she came in with a Disney Security officer in tow. Kelly had not told Mom anything, but just dashed out the door after me at the last instant. Jean was paying for something and didn't catch her departure in that fatal instant. Probably moments after Kelly shot out the door, Jean became aware she was not there and began to look for her. Things escalated and Jean began living the nightmare that Kelly might have been snatched, hoping for the lesser nightmare that Kelly had merely wandered off and become lost.

The happy ending is that of course we were reunited, after Jean lost a few years to fear. And Kelly and I added some safety rules to our repetoire, i.e. always make sure each parent knows where Kelly is before taking off.

Being a true geek, I also offered a technical fix for human frailty: "if we'd had a pair of Family Radio Service handhelds, you'd have been able to ask me if Kelly was with me as soon as you missed her, and not had to worry." So before the next trip, we'll be buying a pair of FRSs (possibly three, so I can take one to Anime Expo, while Jean and Kelly both have their own units).

Posted by dpwakefield at June 26, 2002 02:12 PM