Nothing marks the beginning of summer in the city like street fairs, and the 5th Avenue street fair in Brooklyn happens to be in our neighborhood. This also means throngs of people (do you see that wall of people in that picture above? I see it) and it also usually means hyped up children in bouncy castles and high on sugar (melt downs and whining is to be expected at some point). We don’t go to a lot of street fairs but I am partial to this one for other reasons other than its proximity to where we live (it stretches for 20+ blocks so it’s pretty unavoidable anyway). Along with the usual street fair stuff like bedding sets, sunglasses, socks, funnel cakes and meat-on-a-stick, all the neighborhood restaurants and shops up and down 5th Avenue open up stands on the street and it’s the one day where you can sample a lot of local restaurant food.
But the crowds! So easy to lose someone you’re with, right? Which is what happened. We were 4 kids and 3 adults cruising down 5th ave when all of a sudden I didn’t see Mia anymore. Whaaa? Wait wait wait, hold up now. Surely she was just a few feet away. Mark takes off from where we came, our friend Ben takes off up the street, I watch the other 3 kids and stay put. A few minutes later they both come back empty handed without Mia. I don’t freak out just yet but I feel the beginnings of panic starting to rise up my chest. The guys take off once again. Claudine starts yelling for Mia. I don’t know how much time passes, 5 minutes? 7 minutes? 10? And then…I see Ben emerging from the crowds carrying Mia, except it was almost in slow-mo, like a scene from a movie. If there had been some kind of tear-jerker music playing as a soundtrack in the background of that scene, you woulda cried.
Mia is very calm throughout the reunion. Apparently she went to a police woman when she realized she was lost (where she learned that, I have no idea). No tears, no drama, though she later admitted to being a little scared. We all high five Mia for being SO smart and use it to teach the other 3 kids a lesson on what to do if they ever get lost.
I admire Mia’s ability to stay calm. I was lost once too when I was around 4 years old for a few hours at Jones Beach. I still remember what it felt like to walk around the beach looking for my parents and bawling and then waiting at the life guard’s office for what seemed like forever. But Mia doesn’t freak out like that. Have I ever told you about the time nobody showed up to pick her up from school? It was a misunderstanding between me and our nanny. The school office tried to call us repeatedly, but both Mark and I were on separate subways so we weren’t getting the calls to our cell phones. The office then called all the grandparents when they couldn’t reach us and our phones were again being flooded by more calls. We were both underground. We had no idea what was going on. By virtue of good timing my subway emerged from the tunnel and started going above ground and I happened to pick up my ringing phone. When the school informed me that Mia was still at school waiting to be picked up I was disoriented and honestly a bit mortified, but I’m sure this wasn’t the first time this has happened at school. When I saw Mia later that evening I asked her if she was worried and scared. She said she wasn’t, but she put both hands on her hip and said “But nobody came to pick me up!”. Then she threw her hands up in the air and walked away as if to say “stupid humans. oy vey!”