separation anxiety

She came bursting through the door like there was a fire hot on her heels. She wasn’t wearing a mask, and she very obviously had no intention of donning one. Once inside, she turns to look at the door she’s just blown through.

At first, there’s nobody there. Then, there’s two little girls at the exit door, which isn’t opening. The elder is only around three possibly near to four years old. Her younger sister is toddling behind her if she’s not two, then she’s barely three.

Their matching sets of blue eyes are as big as saucers as they are trapped on the outside of the door looking in. The woman, presumably their grandma, begins yelling at them through the glass.

“Wrong door. That’s the wrong door!”

She repeats herself over and over again, but makes no effort to help them. Their blonde hair falls in waves that frame their sweet cherub faces, which they’ve turned towards me.

I’m paused, looking at the exit door I’m ready to leave through. I hesitate to open the automatic door for fear of hurting one or both of these sweet babies. I can only stand and watch the scene play out.

Grandma finally makes her move. She stomps towards the automatic door, causing it to swing open towards the girls. The elder grabs her younger sister and drags her out of the way and towards the entrance.

She stands there, too small and light to trigger the door, until a gentleman comes walking up, triggering the door and allowing the poor little ones through. Grandma turns and speed walks into the store, leaving those two little ones running to try and catch up.


This actually happened today at Meijer. For me, it triggered a memory of a time when I was about five and out shopping with my parents.

We were at the mall. Sears I believe. Definitely one of those department stores at the mall with an upstairs and a down.

My parents were shopping, and I was bored and annoyed. I did not want to be there. So, I’m screwing around, testing my boundaries. I kept ducking into the clothing racks and all that typical stuff that young kids do to annoy their parents while out shopping.

I was positive that I knew exactly where we were going. After all, we were walking right towards the escalator, so we had to be going down to the first floor, right?

I was afraid of the escalator. That thing terrified me. Steps that moved on their own. I was always afraid it would just take off with me, fast like a conveyer belt, and send me flying.

That day, I was going to be brave. I was going to climb on the down escalator without holding anybody’s hand. I put my little foot on the moving black floor. Then, my other foot beside it.

I was going down on the escalator, all by myself. I turned to look over my shoulder, so proud of myself for my bravery. That’s when I discovered that I was going down on the escalator all by myself!


This was one of those escalators in the middle of the department store. The ones where down and up aren’t side by side. There was no option of stepping onto the up escalator and just returning to my family.

I know I was screaming and crying. I was so very scared. I couldn’t find a policeman anywhere.

I don’t know how long it took for my parents to realize I was gone and not just being a brat hiding from them in a clothing rack. For me, it might as well have been days or even weeks. The reality is that it was likely only a matter of minutes.

I don’t remember the moment they found me or that we were reunited. I can only remember watching my family shrink as I was going down the escalator I’d just grown brave enough to ride.

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