When your children reach a certain age, the fears that you have when they are little mutate into new fears. The chances of their getting lost are less but the chances of their getting hurt by their own volition are greater. Parents can never let their guard down with their children, regardless of the ages, but some children are easier than others to manage.
All my boys, including Tucker, always stuck close to me like little ducklings. I was never one of those moms that had to leave abruptly to chase after a toddler who was escaping mock force. This is why Wade and I were completely baffled when Tucker disappeared yesterday at the football field .
It didn’t help any that Brevitt, who was the most concerned of all, told me that he saw Tucker with his head down like he was sad and some adult man was helping him.
Taking a deep breath, I raced off on my bike and looped around the surrounding streets, no Tucker. It is difficult to methodically plan out your search when you are on the verge of panicking. I was breathing hard and my heart was racing but for some instinctual reason I managed to keep my panic at bay.
The most difficult decision to make is when to call the police. If Tucker had been kidnapped than immediacy would have been essential and I never would have forgiven myself for waiting to make the call.
Racing to the nearby park something told me to keep going down the path to my friend’s house where Tucker always has play dates, this was the last place I was going to check before dialing 911. I knew that the family was gone in the desert and as I suspected their house was all locked up. I walked to their back patio to check if any doors were unlocked thinking that if Tucker did indeed walk all the way over there he might scout out the place to get inside and play with their toys.
Like a ghost, Tucker appeared inside in front of the window with his secret smile on his face. How did he get in there with all the doors locked? A wash of “what if’s” enveloped me in a thin reality veil. What if I hadn’t walked around the back? What would he have done after getting bored of playing? Would he have walked back to the football field in the dark or sat in the house all alone crying until somebody came home or would he have turned on the television and helped himself to popsicles? What if he really had been kidnapped?
I breathed an incredible sigh of relief and moved on to stage two. I wasn’t sure how to scare him to his senses without permanently causing damage. I decided to tell him the story of how my mother did call the police when I was a child because she forgot that I had told her that I was going to my friend’s house for lunch. I have never forgotten seeing the police car in the distance and as I got closer hearing the police asking the children if they had seen Jillian Wernick. I froze with fear when I realized it was I who was in trouble.
A few months ago I heard about a four year old disappearing from an ice cream shop located adjacent to a river. I couldn’t help but accuse the parents of being negligent with their child, how could they not have noticed that their little boy had wandered away?
My family reflected on how none of us noticed Tucker walking away, I was taking pictures of the team and Wade was busy packing up the car to leave. Last we saw Tucker he was playing football with all of the other kids. Apparently, he got bored and decided to walk over to his friend’s house to play.
Sometimes we need these warnings to keep us on our toes, I’m just extremely thankful that we were lucky this time.