Did I leave the baby in the car?

If I can temporarily forget a 20-minute span of time, what else am I capable of forgetting?
If I can temporarily forget a 20-minute span of time, what else am I capable of forgetting? Photo: Getty Images

Have you ever arrived at your destination but couldn't remember anything about driving there?

I recently experienced something along the same lines - just a million times scarier.

At work, I was going over a checklist in my head - all the things I needed to accomplish that morning - and my thoughts strayed to my precious Baby Girl. This happens all the time and always brings me joy.

However, this time I went into panic-mode when I realised I couldn't remember dropping my daughter off that morning.

So many questions came to mind, each one with a potentially frightening answer.

Where was my Baby Girl? Did I leave my baby in the car? How hot was it? Where was she supposed to be? Why couldn't I remember anything after leaving the house?

Baby Girl spends Monday, Wednesday, Friday at one location and Tuesday, Thursday at another. Once I realised it was a day-care day, I tried to remember any interaction I had with her caregivers. We always exchange pleasantries. Why couldn't I remember this conversation?

Since Baby Girl's vocabulary is limited to "MaMa," "DaDa," "Milk" and "Bye," we practice animal noises every time we get in the car. It's a way to communicate that brings a smile to my face. She does a great trumpeting elephant, even if it causes her to spit everywhere. Her lion is a limp swipe of her paw (with the tiniest of yips), and the only difference between her owl and puppy is volume. I usually ask her what a snappy, snappy alligator does and she shows off her gator chomp.

But that morning, I had no recollection of her quiet owl "hoot, hoot" or loud puppy "HOOT, HOOT."

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Perhaps, working in a newsroom or living in Florida, I've read too many stories about babies left in hot cars. As I tried to grasp one memory of my morning, I found solace in the fact that it was a cool morning.

I grabbed my phone and called up the live-streaming video at my daughter's day care as I made my way to the parking lot. As the website loaded, I had the briefest memory of helping Baby Girl out of her coat and kissing her on the top of her head. I remembered her yelling "Bye" at me as I turned to leave.

I stopped at the top of the stairs and watched the video appear on my phone. Yes, Baby Girl was right where she was supposed to be.

The entire exchange lasted only seconds but seemed much longer. I can't remember ever feeling such intense fear.

Maybe I was tired, although that is the new normal. Maybe I was distracted by my work responsibilities, again, not something that is going to change.

If I can temporarily forget a 20-minute span of time, what else am I capable of forgetting? Could a lapse in memory lead to something worse?

I'm trying to learn from this experience. Moving forward I'm making every effort to be present in the moment. Maybe then I'll forget less of them.

- The Orlando Sentinel