Many parents (and grandparents) have gone through that "Holy Crap, where did they go?" moment with kids (grandkids).
Mine, unfortunately, was at the Times Union Center in Albany on a busy Saturday night.
Before I continue, all is well and no one was harmed...well except for a grandfather's nerves that is.
The other night, I took grandsons 10 year old Chris and 5 year old Zach to see WWE Live. As a precaution, I asked Read Shepherd to come along. I've learned a 5 year old bladder is not timed with a 10 year old bladder, so my thought was one of us could stay with one while the other took another to the rest room.
All was going well, the boys (all 4 of us) were having a great time. Normally, during these things, spectators (mostly kids) can run up to the barricade before and after matches, hoping for a high five from the "Superstars" (which both boys did and got). Our seats were in the 11th row from the front so we could see them. Shortly before intermission, Zach says "Popsie, I'm hungry." I tell him after the last match, we'll all go upstairs and get a snack.
The last match ends and intermission starts. I see Chris come back to our seats. I don't see Zach. "Chris, where's your brother? You're supposed to keep an eye on him." Chris goes back and looks but no Zach. This was all happening over about 2 minutes, so I didn't panic...yet.
Then Chris points to the stairs leading to the next level and says "I see him." I tell Chris to run and get him, especially since he's much faster than me, and I'd be right behind him. I get to the next level expecting to see both, instead Chris says "Popsie I can't find him." At this point I was getting concerned but I didn't want to scare Chris, besides, the look on his face told me he already was.
Chris goes to check the rest room while I stand in one spot. Odds were Zach is very close by. Chris comes up from the bathroom and says he couldn't find him. The worry level increases a bit but I'm staying calm, again mostly for Chris.
A couple of minutes later, two moms (with kids) show up (with a security guard) and Zach in their arms. They saw Zach crying and scared since he couldn't find us. He did the smart thing and told the security guard his father Eric's name, so everyone was looking for him. After clearing everything up, I thank them all and we're back to normal.
I take a couple of minutes to reassure both boys that all is well, but I'm still concerned about what my daughter and son-in law would say if I told them about the incident. Especially since my daughter Megan is (as of this writing) pregnant with our next grandson Mason Ryan, and I didn't want to be the one to induce labor.
So I tell the boys "OK, Zach, I'm glad you're safe, but you should never do that again." (He assumed we were all going upstairs at the same time) "Chris, as the big brother, you always have to look out for Zach." "However, since Popsie is the adult in charge, I'm at fault too, so to make sure we don't scare Mom and Dad, let's just have the three of us not say anything, I'd get in trouble, but there's a chance you could as well."
"OK Popsie, we won't say a word."
The rest of the night was great, and the boys were happy and had a fantastic time.
I came home and my wife Nancy was sleeping, so when she woke the next morning I told her....knowing it's better for her to be mad at me instead of Megan.
The next day, Megan and the boys come over to our place. Within seconds on entering, Zach says "Hey Popsie, are you gonna tell Mom how I got lost?"
Then Megan says "They both told me earlier...they ALWAYS tell me EVERYTHING."
BUSTED TIMES TWO
I explained to her my reasoning for not saying anything, and I think she understood, and we all moved on. Still, I never want to go through that again.
And I said a silent prayer, giving thanks for someone besides me watching over the boys that night.