One moment he was playing on the library computer. I looked down at the bookshelf, looked back and he was gone. It took at least 1-2 minutes before I began to feel panic. #2 is an active boy, he is always wandering off. But after I checked the predictable places and then checked them again the thought crossed my mind that I had actually lost my child. Now I'm running. Running between the stacks, to the far corners of the library. Running out the front doors, eyes scanning the parking lot and then up the hill which leads to the public park and a lake....... A LAKE!! The image of him falling in propels me up the hill and frantically scanning the shorelines knowing that there would be no way to know where he fell in. Feeling torn between diving in and groping around in the murky waters or returning to search inside, I decide to bet on the side of hope and run back to the library.
Now as I enter the library every face I see is one of a child molester, or kidnapper. Every corner or door handle I see is a possible hiding place to hurt my son. I'm crying now, totally out of control. Other people are looking for him too. It's been 7-8 minutes. Long enough for him to be long gone in a pedofile's car; long enough for a crime to have been committed; long enough for him to be scared and wanting me. I've been praying, but now I'm just screaming things in my head; demanding, begging, negotiating with the Lord.
A hundred yards away out of the back window my eyes spot the top of a blond head but I'm not relieved yet. It's him. I race to the back wall, find the emergency door and burst outside in one breath. He's safe! I'm hugging him but also feeling for broken bones, looking for signs of distress, checking to see if his pull-up has been tampered with. Everything checks out.
As we reentered the library I could see the alarm that I had spread lift at the sight of #2. I thanked the Lord for my safe son and also for the people who instinctively wanted to help find a lost child.
We checked out our books and I tried to calm down. (Suddenly dripping in sweat.) I just kept thinking, "Why would he wander off like that?" It was about this time that I smelled something wafting from his direction and the answer hit me. He was just trying to find a private place to take care of his business.
I admit that I'm a sub-par mom, but lest you judge me too harshly I really was paying attention to him in the library. For those of you who know #2, you will understand just how easily he can escape anywhere, anyplace. In all the years I've been a parent (Ok, 5 years isn't THAT long, but still plenty of time to totally screw up) this is the only time I've really lost any of my kids. And I hope it never happens again, I don't think my heart can take it.
Have you ever lost someone like that?