Getting Real With Wanda Morrissey
It all started with a birthday party. The party was being held at an indoor playground. The area wasn’t very big. When you first walked in there was a long rectangular area where you could leave your shoes and coat. You had to open a latched door to let yourself into the main area. Along one wall was a café and sitting area and along the other was the playground. There were two party rooms at the end.
Structures made to look like trees hid stairs that led up to a series of interconnected tubes that led to platforms and more tubes that snaked its way around the upper half of the room. Under one half was a rope bridge and tube slide, under the other half was an area filled with foam blocks and a small slide for the younger kids. My three year old got lost in the maze of tubes.
The party was winding down. The kids had had playtime, pizza, and cake. The party girl was opening her presents while some of the adults looked on but most of the kids had took off for the play area before it was time to go. I was watching presents being opened while my husband sat chatting to some friends while watching the kids play.
My husband tapped me on the arm. “Did Jeffrey come in here?”
“No. Why?” I asked
“I can’t find him.”
“What do you mean you can’t find him!” I was trying hard not to panic.
“He climbed up to the tubes and I don’t think he came down, but I can’t see him anywhere.”
The search was on. He couldn’t get out. The latched door made sure that little ones couldn’t get out. I forced the thought that somebody had taken him out of my mind. He was in those tubes somewhere but both hubby and I were too big to go get him. One of the other party goers ran by and I asked him to see if he could see Jeffrey up in the tubes. He came down minutes later – no Jeffrey. Panic was beginning to build. My husband and I were staring up at the structure desperately hoping that he would appear somewhere. We were trying to keep an eye on all corners at once and trying hard NOT TO PANIC. Just as I was going to approach one of the staff to tell them there was a child missing, Jeffrey came around the corner .
“Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad.” He greeted us like there was nothing wrong. I guess in his eyes there wasn’t anything wrong but I wanted to yell, cry and laugh. I settled for giving him a big hug and kiss. He looked at me like I was strange.
I had never felt that kind of panic before. I didn’t know what to do or how to react. I don’t know if I should have alerted staff sooner, I didn’t want to start a full scale panic. In my gut I knew he was up there, I was afraid that he was up there and didn’t know how to get down. In the end he figured it out or maybe he knew all along and my husband and I were just overreacting. We’ll never know, I just hope it never happens again.