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Lost and Found

The next time I update my "Mother of the Decade" award application I'll have a new story to add. I think it will fit nicely after dropped infant face-first on the floor during manicure (x-rays showed no fractures), and right before turned around and saw 18-month-old pull a steak knife out of the dishwasher.

Today's heart-stopping episode took place at Macy's. I try to keep Morgan in the stroller when we shop. Not because she can't walk it but because she tends to wander off. But the stroller was full of newly tried-on clothes and she wanted to walk anyway over to check out.

The clerk was busy removing theft tabs and I was trying to read the fine print on my coupon--and she disappeared.

The first emotion is anger. When that little stinker pops out from behind a rack of clothes, she's really going to get it.

Then comes the fear that has you running up and down the aisle calling her name with increasing intensity. Managers are being called. People are staring.

The whole episode was five-ten minutes but it felt like an eternity. In my head I was already starting to have the worst conversation of my life with my husband. I began fishing around in my purse for a photo. This one will look good on TV. The manager was talking but all I heard was Cooooode Aaaaddddaaaammm.

Then it was over. Around the corner came my baby, smiling and holding hands with her new friend Amy, the clerk in menswear. A manager on a walkie was with them.

My baby hugged me and said I was worried about you Mom. Later she related how she couldn't find the path back to me and looked for a nice lady to help her. I was proud and relieved and thankful.

And like the second-generation gold card Macy's shopper that I am, I completed my transaction. It WAS a damn good coupon.

PROLOGUE: Every mother that's ever been interviewed on 20/20 has said the same thing: I only looked away for a moment. Last fall I received a free Lifelynx USB drive. It contains a program to help you store descriptions and photos of each family member. Tonight I completed it.


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