To the girl who recognized me in the mall Thursday

Hi, friend.

First of all, thank you so much for pointing out where Viva had disappeared to. I was really distracted and when I turned around and noticed she was gone my brain immediately short-circuited and went to the following headline: GAY MORMON MARRIED MAN WHO RECENTLY CAME OUT LOSES DAUGHTER AT MALL BECAUSE HE’S TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AND SHOULDN’T BE A PARENT. OBVIOUSLY HE SHOULD HAVE PARTNERED WITH A MAN. AND THEN CHOSEN NOT TO ADOPT.

But anyway, while I have you here, I wanted to defend and minimize explain a few things you might have noticed in my behavior while I was busy not remembering that people actually recognize me in public places these days.

First off, when I got angry with the old man who was setting up for a photo-shoot by the carousel, I need you to understand that it was the second time he had gotten mad at Tessa for crossing an invisible barrier he created directly on the path to the carousel.  Here’s a diagram:

I’m pretty confident this diagram is extremely helpful. Also, not sure if you realized how good I am at graphic art… but yeah. Breathtaking. (You can see some of my other work here or here. Also, If you’re interested in my help with an invitation or a card or some other graphicy thing, my services are for hire. Call me *does air-phone*)

I needed him to know that if he wants to do a photo shoot in a mall, that’s totally fine. But if he wants to do a photo shoot in a mall where no children cross an invisible line into the “off limits” section, setting up said shoot directly in front of the carousel is a very, very bad idea. I don’t know if he’s met a child before, but the formula goes something like this: child sees carousel, child experiences adrenaline rush leading to near-cardiac-arrest, child runs full throttle towards the carousel in a direct line without consideration of invisible barriers or one pink “caution” sign arbitrarily placed upon said invisible barrier. Yelling at my child for doing this is pointless. A one-year old will not learn how to not have this response to a carousel. The same rule applies but is not limited to: Chuck E. Cheese, toy stores, Grandpas, large stuffed animals, any Disney character anywhere, and busily trafficked roads. This is part of growing up as a human.

Second, when you saw me scratching my nose, I was really just scratching my nose. I didn’t mean to have to flick. Accidents happen.

Third, I washed my hands.

(Fourth, no I didn’t.)

Fifth, doesn’t everybody let their children crawl along the railing of a flight of stairs in the mall, even where the drop-off would probably break a bone? No? Okay, well, now we know! I think we’ve all learned an important lesson today! How very valuable! *The NBC “The more you know” logo chimes in the background*

Sixth, when you saw me actually lose my child, a few factors were in place that I am making up explain that phenomenon. First, Lolly had been in Claire’s exchanging headbands for, like, a really long time. Second, that was the second time she went in there and that place is like a Time Vaccum for the mother of three little girls. Third, my ADD has really been acting up lately and I was distracted by deep and profound thoughts such as “Look! Carousel! *resists urge to b-line past the invisible barrier*” and “How many children do I have again?” and “I hate shopping so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so much.” (<—Totally ironic because I’m gay, amiright?)

Anyway, you can see why when you approached me after pointing out Viva had disappeared into an automated photo booth, I probably seemed a little sheepish. But I wanted you to know that I really appreciated you saving Viva’s life, and that I actually really enjoyed that you came up and talked to me, and also thanks a lot for reading my blog.

Yours affectionately,

The Weed


  1. Oh, and btw, the ADHD responses last post were *incredible*. I'm still narrowing down the ones I want to share (but, SHOCKINGLY I have read them all). Thanks so much, everybody for sharing your thoughts and insights.

  2. ""I hate shopping so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so much." (<—Totally ironic because I'm gay, amiright?)"

    So many shoe-shopping-with-my-gay-friend-Josh dreams were just crushed. Are you at least any good with flowers?

  3. Talking about shopping – today we went out to buy my husband new smart trousers ('pants' in the New World). Then, as I return to your blog and watch the background loading I realise what my inspiration was.

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I left Vienna at a stranger's house today on accident and my cell phone was dead so I found out when I got home. With my history, you know I broke the speed limit and had 12 heart attacks on my way to get her. She's fine, but I need more therapy!

  5. As shamed as I am to admit this, once my very "active" toddler managed to get his head through the railing that was supposed to prevent a toddler suicide. I had my other 3 children and mother-in-law with me. As I was trying to compress his ears and get his head back through to safety (and I know he could have so gotten the rest of his body through the railing and fulfilled his death wish–he was that creative), a mall employee comes along and says, "don't let him do that!"

    Uh, yeah, lady, I told my firstborn son, "I've got too many kids. Go see if you can drop 60 feet to your death."

  6. A harness is your friend, Josh. Even though people will give you dirty looks for "leashing" your child, it helped keep my sanity at the mall when my kids were small. And contrary to popular belief, your children will not be scarred for life.

    1. I used a harness with my three. I used to attach only one end so it really looked like a lead rather than a loop. It gave the child more distance. I got admiring rather than strange looks (other than in continental Europe – they really didn't get it there). I would let the lead hand loose while we sauntered along and only ever tightened it to avert mishap. It was quite handy for breaking their fall too.

    2. My mom used a harness with my youngest brother, too! He would *not* hold anyone's had while crossing a parking lot or in a busy public place. So the harness gave him the illusion of being free, while keeping him safely secured to Mom's side — he loved it! 🙂

  7. I lost my child @ liberty park the other day and a nice lady was kind enough to say she say a girl wandering towards the rides my child managed to sneak on to the carousal and get someone to lift her up and buckle her in (she is 3 it would be more impressive if she were one)

    1. Eerie. That's just what happened to Savannah Smiles (Liberty park and everything).
      I'm glad she didn't return home several weeks later with a puppy. First I'd hug my kid. Then I'd be like "WHO GAVE MY KID THIS PUPPY???"

  8. The good old Josh is back. Welcome!

    As for ADD, you do not fight it. You embrace it. And you will realize that all those petty little things you are occupied with while other "terribly important stuff" passes by you are actually terribly important, while the rest is handled by others like a charm.

    Sure, your wife would hate it. After all, she is the first one on the line for shouldering. But hey, she loves you, doesn't she? I hope she understands she doesn't have a luxury to hate your guts any more. You are celebrity now. (<—- This is aimed at boosting your already excessive haughtiness.)

  9. As a "not yet" parent I have nothing really insightful to say here because…well I'm not a parent. But as a "sister of a guy who has been accidentally left/forgotten at two different places in his childhood". I can tell you that he is not traumatized. At least you found her. And at least she didn't grab some random guys hand and start walking off to the parking lot…..though in my defense, his suit and beard looked similar to my dads >_<

  10. My parents lost me in Westminster Abbey when I was four. A very kind nun walked around with me until I recognized somebody and returned me to my aunt. After that my 9-year old cousin was given the responsibility to hold my hand and "DON'T LET GO NO MATTER WHAT" for the rest of our vacation. I wasn't scarred but I'm not too sure about him after being stuck to me for 3 weeks. LOL

  11. My parents lost me in Westminster Abbey when I was four. A very kind nun walked around with me until I recognized somebody and returned me to my aunt. After that my 9-year old cousin was given the responsibility to hold my hand and "DON'T LET GO NO MATTER WHAT" for the rest of our vacation. I wasn't scarred but I'm not too sure about him after being stuck to me for 3 weeks. LOL

  12. my parents left me at a rest stop on a trip when I was 7. They didnt realize I was missing for 20 miles 🙂 It happens.

  13. This is definitely my favorite of all your blog posts ever. I remain your faithful (albeit confused) fan* in the blogesphere. I also really liked your diagram and found it helpful in understanding the story.

    Temporarily misplacing a kid usually turns out okay in the end but there are so many damn Lifetime Television For Women movies that we forget it will all turn out and we will joke about it some day.

    *I call myself a fan but I want to clarify that I have never sent a gay an email with a link to your coming out post like all "this should clear some things up for ya just trying to be helpful". I am not THAT fan but a fan nonetheless.

    1. When I was 4 or 5 I wandered from my parents (I knew where they were the whole time! lol) for no more than 3 minutes and when they "found" (like I said, I knew where they were) me again, my mom was crying. I was so confused as a young child who didn't understand the dangers of wandering away at a mall. (only 1 or 2 years after Adam Walsh).

  14. Did it make the international news when our Prime Minister (David Cameron) left his 8-year-old daugher at a pub recently? The family were there in two cars and each parent thought he other had her. The press got all self-righteous about it, but my biggest concern was that the PM's security detail didn't notice anything amiss.

    1. I was thinking about the same thing (of course, I live here in the UK too). I remember reading about Cameron's oops moment and thinking "there but for the grace of God . . ." My two-year old has run off several times and is a little escape artist. I live in fear of the times she's snuck out the gate and down our busy street.

  15. I think as parents and especially parents with more than one child to look after, a lot of us have had a child get away from us in a public crowd situation. I lost one child at a Highland Games one year. Fortunately he was found and taken to an information booth and an announcement went out over the PA system. And I lost another one at the Pacific Science Center when she decided to go out a door to an outside courtyard while the rest of us were inside. So easy to lose them in a crowd. And yet another one was lost while school shopping at JC Penney. All of these stories had happy endings and I'd say that's probably the norm more than the ones we hear on the news that end badly.

    Maybe I should have tied a rope to each of them.

  16. Being the father of five children (one of whom we affectionately call "our wandering child" and has The Wanderer as his own theme song: "I'm the kind of guy that likes to roam around. I'm never in one place; I wander around the town…"), I have frequently experienced the sheer terror of being unable to locate a child in a busy public place. And I don't even have ADD on which to blame it. Just yesterday my daughter who is old enough to know better took a wrong turn and was returned to us a few minutes later by a kindly woman

    I'm just grateful that my wandering child, now in his teens, has sprouted up to be the tallest member of the family. He's now fairly easy to spot. (He still wanders.) And when we can't see him, we can call him on his cell phone. So it does get better over time.

  17. Man, if I got a shout out for every time I found one of your kids wandering off- I would be famous! Or at least JT would – because, let's be honest, I am with you gawking at the carousel and trying to remember if I have two kids or three now-a-days. Hhhhmmm or maybe I am with Lolly and Viva touching every hand band in sight.

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