When my son was a year old I lost him at a campground. It was nighttime, and we were camping with family. It was one of those "I thought he was with you" moments. I walked back to my mother-in-law's campsite and asked where Brendan was. "I thought he was with you" she said. My heart dropped. It was pitch black out and we were surrounded by water.
Panic set in and we all lost. our. shit. Fifteen people scattered in all directions yelling my son's name.
I don't know how long we looked for him. It felt like an hour, but I know it wasn't. As I walked around yelling for him I envisioned us being on the evening news. I kept thinking about how when I saw on the news that someone's kid wandered off I wondered what kind of a parent lost their toddler. They must not watch them. They must be neglectful.
I don't normally panic, but there is no doubt I was in full blown panic-mode.
Then I heard someone call my name.
"He's over here!"
I ran like a maniac and there he was, digging in the volleyball sand with a plastic spoon.
"Brendan" I yelled.
" 'Ello!" He called back in his adorable impish voice. My heart stopped and melted at the same time.
This, my friends, was one of my first real parenting lessons: stop judging other parents. What you judge another parent for could easily be something that happens to you.