It Was Only Two Minutes

mom with boy and girl with smiles and hairAs a parent, sometimes you feel like you’ve got it together.

Other times, you lose your 5-year-old in a crowded place.

Wanna guess which one of those two scenarios this story is about?



two little kids in shorts eating ice cream on a white wallI get torn about posting on Instagram. I don’t want to make adventuring with kids easier than it actually is. Especially adventuring with two kids by myself, when daddy is at work.

Sometimes I even fake myself out and let my guard down, and say yes to places I know have been difficult in the past.

This is one of those times.

It was only two minutes.

two little kids walking through a brown stableThe kids and I were invited to an awesome foodie magazine event at a fancy horse ranch in San Luis Obispo. Things had been going well for the blog and I was feeling confident so I took both children to the event solo, with no one else to watch them but me.

Shortly after we took our picture-perfect IG ice cream pics, someone came over to talk to me about something I don’t even remember now, and in however many moments that was, I lost 5-year-old Clara in the crowd.  The property was huge — a 160-acre estate with a hacienda (w/what felt like approximately 1 million doors), a courtyard with a fire pit, a giant horse barn, and oh yeah – a huge body of water.

It was only two minutes.

But, as anyone who ever lost sight of their child knows, it was a FULL two minutes.

It was one minute of mild panic, quickly proceeded by another minute of massive freakout.

It was two minutes of running around calling her name; casually at first and then more urgently.

It was two minutes of 3-year Wyatt on my hip trying to wiggle out of my grip.

It was two minutes of remembering oh crap there’s a giant pond here and she can’t swim yet.

It was two minutes of me playing out every drowning, child abduction, and scary thing I’d seen on the news in the last decade in my head.

It was two minutes of me beating myself up over even attempting to take the kids to an event by myself while fully knowing better.

It was one minute and 57 seconds of all this, and just 3 seconds shy of dialing 911.

green grass courtyardBut then Clara miraculously ran to me, out of nowhere, not a care in the world.

Then it was tears in my eyes and hugs and words about never letting go ever again.

I say all this as a gentle reminder that adventuring with kids is hard. They’re a lot to keep up with and I sure *hope* I communicate the good and the bad for you guys so the reality of kid outings IRL is known.

That it’s not all smiles and pretty pictures.

But there are also small moments of it not being hard  – and that’s why I keep doing thismom with boy and girl with smiles and hair blog. That’s why I post and encourage families to get out and copy our activity or destination.

Because of moments like this picture. But not the two minutes after it.

Those two minutes really sucked.

About Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland is a journalist and Instagram influencer in the family and travel niche. A former newspaper reporter, Tonya shares unfiltered #momlife content about places to go with kids. Her family moved from California's Central Coast to Washington state in August 2020. Their adventures now continue in the Pacific Northwest.

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