Someone asked me the other day, what was my most memorable Holiday. I think they were anticipating a story filled with fun traditions and great family memories.
Instead, I said: We lost our 4 yr old son at Mall of America. You know, the largest Mall between here and Canada. Nestled in Minneapolis, MN, this 5.2 million square foot facility contains roller coasters, a water park, a theme park – and that’s just the first floor!
We lost (Oh I’m sorry – I mean, my HUSAND) lost our son while watching the 4 of them in Lego Land. I traveled 3 stories from the food court with 6 bags of chicken nuggets and upon my return, noticed one was missing.
We searched high and low for that child. No doubt, my husband’s hands were full. Four kids ages 8 to1 in Lego Land can’t be easy. But the more we searched and couldn’t find the little fella, the more my anxiety grew exponentially.
After calling Mall Security, we noticed a commotion, almost like a parade of people marching from the 3rd floor, making their way down the escalators. Police officers, lightening equipment, cameras: It looked like channel 2 news had arrived on the scene. As I’m telling my husband, through tears, what I’m gonna do to him if we don’t find our child, we are circled by a camera crew – recording tears, private conversations and police interviews.
It turns out, Mall of America was taping Mall Cops for a television series on TLC. Seriously? Only to us would this happen – The Crazy Family; though we look fairly normal on the outside.
They asked if we’d be interested in signing a contract to be on TLC’s 1st Thanksgiving episode. Now isn’t that Special. Their first episode. (Do you hear the cynicism)?
She said: It’s a story about families coming together. Oh REALLY! ? Uh, I wasn’t born yesterday, but I’m thinking it’s a story about Horrible Parents who can’t keep up with their kids in a mall the size of Montana. After finding him in Spongebob Land, we made a bee-line to the car with TLC’s paparazzi camera crew chasing us with a contract, begging us to share our “Wonderful Family Reunion Story.” We were all out of breath, running with strollers and diaper bags. I’ve never buckled kids in a car so fast. I’m pretty sure we left skid marks in the parking lot.
So when you’re beating yourself up for thinking you’re a terrible mom, because you forgot to feed little Johnny something with color for dinner or you missed Timmy’s Parent-Reader Day, forgot to slip money under the pillow from the tooth fairy or didn’t sign up your son for the football team, just think, you could be sharing your story on TLC with the whole world. We all have tough days when life’s margins are running thin. Just remember, we’re not perfect, but a work in progress. Do your best and forget the rest. Here’s to making holiday memories – ONLY the GOOD ONES!