My Daughter Got Lost And I Found A Village

I took I took yesterday afternoon off and hauled all three kids to the pool alone.

Daring, I know.

It was kind of a last bit of summer vacation sorta thing. My kids start school next week.

We’d been there for a couple hours when for a moment I thought I’d lost Norah, age 8. Ultimately, Norah was fine.

That’s not what this story is about.

It’s about this: I asked a woman to go into the ladies room and look for Norah. I described her as 8, small for her age, with brown hair and bangs, wearing a Frozen swimming suit. The woman came back moments later telling me that she couldn’t see a little girl in the restroom, and that no one answered when she called “Norah.”

I’ll be honest, my heart sank. I think all parents have felt this way at one time or another. It’s a horrible, black hole in the heart feeling that only comes when you wonder if maybe, just maybe, your child was missing, or worse, taken.

But here’s the remarkable part.

I didn’t have the chance to ask for help. I didn’t need to. I don’t know if strangers heard my conversation with the woman who checked the bathroom, or if they could sense my fear, but several ladies approached me, without judgement, and asked to help.

One asked for a description. Then she checked the parking lot. Two other women checked the ladies room. Another helped me search the pool.

As we searched, my son Tristan (age 10) watched his little sister Aspen (age 3).

It was scary, and it felt like it lasted forever. But I can’t help but think back on this moment without amazement at how quickly strangers came together, and helped me search for my lost child.

The whole ordeal lasted only a few minutes. And once Norah was found, she went back to playing at the pool, and so did all the other helpers once they saw that Norah was fine.

Everything went back to normal. There was comfort in that, but at the same time, there was something remarkable, too.

There’s a lot of suspicion when it comes to parenting. Sometimes it feels like there are strangers with ill intentions all around you. There’s a lot of judgement too. But sometimes, in moments like this, it feels like a village.

Particularly when a group of strangers band together to help find a little girl. In that moment, it felt like humanity was still alive and well, and it could be found everywhere from the aftermath of a hurricane in Houston, to a small town community pool where a father is nervously searching for his little girl.

So to the ladies who helped me search for my little girl, thank you for stepping up to help a father. You are what’s still good in this world.

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