The Hidden Truth

, , , , , , | Related | May 7, 2019

Many years ago, my family lived in the Washington, DC area. We often went to visit the Smithsonian Institution museums which line the National Mall between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument.

I would usually pick my daughter — at the time of this story, four years old — from preschool and deliver her to my wife’s office. I would then go to my second job. This one afternoon, however, I got finished extra early, so I picked up my daughter and we went to the Air & Space Museum, which is one of my daughter’s favorites.

We spent a good hour in there during a very busy summer day. After we’d seen our fill, I told her we needed to get going to mommy’s office. As we were walking out, she walked to the right side of a display that was in the middle of the hallway, and I went on the left.  

However, at the other end — maybe 12 feet — she didn’t meet up with me. Panicked, I quickly ran around the right side, then to the left. I couldn’t see her. I started calling her name, but my voice was easily drowned out by the crowd present. I quickly found a security guard, and he called in a missing child. We kept looking around until he got a call that a young girl matching my daughter’s description had been found. We went to the security desk, and there was my daughter. Since there was nothing sinister about her disappearance, I didn’t file a report, and I also didn’t bother to tell my wife.

Twelve years later, my wife and daughter flew back to DC to visit old friends for my daughter’s 16th birthday. One day, they decided to go to the museums. When they went to the Air & Space Museum, they walked by where I’d lost her years before. That’s when my daughter told my wife, “I remember this spot. This is where I hid from Daddy when he wanted to leave, but I didn’t.”

So, the ugly truth came out: she had deliberately hidden from me; it hadn’t been an honest misplacement. And who got in trouble for not telling my wife about the incident? Not the little girl who hid from Daddy, but the husband who thought, “No harm, no foul.”

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