After Miss Last-kid’s baptism yesterday, we headed out for lunch at a local restaurant. Our son was having troubles sitting in his seat. He asked to go to the restroom, and we allowed him to go alone (doesn’t happen often). When he didn’t come back within 5 minutes, I asked my husband to go check on him. You see, there’s an arcade and tortilla-making room between where we were seated and the bathroom – and knowing my son as I know him, I figured he’d found something else to do. Sure enough, DH found him checking out all of the games in the arcade!
Sometimes, he just gets ants in his pants. Sometimes, he has things on his mind that have nothing to do with what we’re doing at the moment. Sometimes, the poor guy just cannot make good choices with his behavior. He’s a little boy and there’s SO MUCH life to explore!
He had already been corrected a few times while waiting for a table at the restaurant, because he couldn’t keep his hands off of others. He had to have a time-out and he was upset about the choices he was making.
After lunch, was time to go home. I have a habit of putting myself either in the front or in the back of our family when we’re out and about. That way, I’m either leading them or following them, to make sure they get where they’re supposed to be. Yesterday, I was the last one out of the restaurant, and all of my brood and our dinner companions were in front of me. I asked the group who was riding with me and who was riding in the other auto and only 1 daughter said she wanted to come with me. So, I walked to our car with her and Tio and Ms. C got in our car and we left. I saw the other auto ahead of us, going in the same direction we were going.
We stopped at a stop-n-rob to pick up some soda for the drive home. Just as Tio got back in the car, my phone rang.
“Do you have our son?” my husband asked.
I did a quick mirror check and responded that I didn’t, I only had 1 child.
Lord have mercy, son wasn’t with his dad, either!
We both headed back to the restaurant and looked around the parking lot. No son. We parked and went into the restaurant, no son. We talked to servers and hosts and cased the place, no son. After JD had made his rounds and admitted to himself that son wasn’t in the restaurant, he nearly came unglued.
Our son was gone. MISSING.
A parent’s worst nightmare, come to fruition. Unbelievably, I didn’t panic. In fact, as I told my husband later, I was completely calm about the whole thing because I didn’t *feel* as if anything was wrong. You know how sometimes, you just know things? Like I knew when my son was not doing well with his behavior in school and I knew we had to formulate a plan to help him when the school called? Like I knew when we received a call (some years ago) that my brother was not going to live? Sometimes, you just know bad things are in front of you. I didn’t feel that way yesterday.
I walked out the door of the restaurant to have a look around at where we were and where he’d go and there he was, walking towards me, with a policeman.
“Son, where were you!” I asked while hugging his neck.
“I was walking home, Mom, cause Dad left me here.” he replied.
I thanked the policeman and walked inside so JD could see the boy. He hugged him and we all went to our cars, this time with ALL of our children, and we left to go home.
“What happened to you, son?” I asked after we were in the car.
“I was walking home, mom.” Mind you, we live 35 miles from the restaurant, so it was quite a walk for a young guy.
“I know, you told me that. But, why weren’t you in the car with Daddy?”
“He left without me.”
“Son, when I saw you as we were leaving, you were going with Dad … so, why didn’t you get in the car?”
“ummmm, I got distracted Mom.” he stated, hanging his head in shame.
“So, how did the policeman find you?” I inquired. I didn’t want to make him feel any worse than he already did because what he did, after the distraction part, was admirable. He tried to go home. He knows where we live and I have no doubt, except for outside interference, he would walk right over the mini-mountain to our house if he had to. It wasn’t necessarily the correct thing to do, if you’re lost, but we needed to get the story before we began working on the right steps to take in this type of sitaution.
“Some lady saw me and stopped and I told her I was lost. She waved at a policeman who was driving by and he came and talked to me. I told him we had eaten at the restaurant and he said he’d take me back there to see if you were there. And you were,” was his explanation.
Thank you, ‘some lady.’ For seeing a little boy, out by himself alone, no doubt crying because he had thought his parents left him. Thank you, policeman. For bringing my son back to me. Thank you, my son, for knowing your name and knowing where you were and what you needed to tell people, so you could come back to us. And thank you Lord, for teaching these parents a lesson in check, double-check and re-check.