How to Move from Beating Yourself Up to Making a Plan

The Chase

Two days ago the kids and I were in the grocery store. As the younger kids and I turned to grab items from the shelf, CJ wandered off. Just in a quick second, he abandoned the cart he was pushing and my heart stopped. Yes a veteran parent like me. Taylor and I tackled the aisles separately. She took the aisle to the right of the cart and I headed to the left. Each aisle – NOTHING. There was no CJ in sight and no trace of him.

As I scurried to the next aisle, I barely caught a glimpse of him as he completed the length of the aisle and turned headed left to the next one. CJ was on a mission, so he didn’t even hear me as I called his name or maybe as a teenager he opted to ignore me. Taylor heard me and we joined forces as we took a mad dash down the aisle. Yep picture it — Taylor and I running through the grocery store yelling “CJ!!!!!” We eventually caught up to him with a grand audience smiling as if it were a sitcom of sorts. At that moment, I realized that I never wanted to experience that feeling again.

The Lesson

It can happen to the best of us. But it always fascinates me as to how quick we as parents pass judgment. I can hear it now. “Why did she take her eyes off of him?” “Why doesn’t she hold his hand?” I debated whether to even share this event, but I thought it a valuable narrative of “Stop beating yourself up and just come up with a plan.

(Photos from one of our many shopping trips)

You see — CJ is a 15 year old boy and I make a conscious effort to afford him some sense of normalcy. When we go shopping, he loves pushing the cart so he helps mommy push the cart each and every time. Except for wandering during his early years, I haven’t experienced him taking off as I grab items and toss them in the cart. Secondly, he enjoys the freedom of doing something on his own and I will never take that away from him. However, with all of this being said, the latest events made me realize that our approach…our plan…may need a minor adjustment.

The Plan

I immediately called my mom to fill her in on the eventful day. We both chuckled as she realized CJ was probably making a mad dash to the chip aisle to grab his routine 3 bags of Cheese Puffs. He was on a mission. But we also discussed ways that we could keep him safe  possibly through the use of a monitor, bell on his shoelaces, or alarm that would sound off if he eloped a certain distance away from me. We agreed that one of these methods should be instated.

We had a plan and it provided some sense of relief. And as I scrolled through social media the next day, I was literally hit by this post about a kit for kids that wander. You can take a look here.


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