Welcome to Babble,
Sign Out

Get the Babble Newsletter!

Already have an account? .

Help! I Lost my Daughter in the Hermitage!

St. Petersburg, RUSSIA -- Hermitage Entrance Hall   Photo Credit: Ann Weeks

St. Petersburg, RUSSIA — Hermitage Entrance Hall Photo Credit: Ann Weeks

St. Petersburg, RUSSIA — It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and it happened to me in the blink of an eye. I feared that I had lost my daughter in the Hermitage, the world’s largest museum.

It was a slow and agonizing 30 minutes before I was reunited with my 12-year-old daughter. The recovery process took a bit longer than the norm, but that’s because we were strangers in another country. I did not know how to speak the language; I did not know how to communicate with the museum officials. I was at a loss, and quickly fell into a panic mode. My body began shaking uncontrollably with fear.

I’ve never lost my daughter before in a public place back home, much less in a foreign country while on vacation. My heart was beating a mile a second, as soon as I realized her absence. I was filled with anger for being incredibly stupid, full of fear because of her absence, and frustrated beyond belief for not being able to communicate with the on-duty museum officials. My guard had been down. I felt safe in our surroundings. We were touring Russia among a group of fellow American travelers, we were on our second day of guided tours, pacing ourselves in this gorgeous and historical city, St. Petersburg, Russia, commonly known as the “ The Venice of the North.”

I turned for what seemed like less than a minute, and my daughter was gone. Out-of-sight. I’m fortunate to share a happy ending to our story. We were reunited with each other in the end. During my daughter’s absence, I did feel that we had a strong chance of finding her quickly, since my children and I have drilled with each other on several occasions about various “what-if ” scenarios. I highly recommend such rehearsals to  traveling families. Make certain that every family member knows and understands the details of a “what-if” plan, similar to what civil-defense experts and school officials do for fire drills, tornado and hurricane drills, and the like.

And try to have kids involved in your own “what-if” family plan as much as possible. If a situation arises, you’ll be happy you were prepared.

Tagged as: , ,

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.