Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lost Little Boy

Yesterday I was over visiting Izzy N' Emmy's mommy and read of her very own "Amber Alert" experience. It brought to my mind my own frightening experience back in the day - when the kids were little.

Every year on the last day of school our town has the Pet and Doll Parade. The kids dress up in costumes and/or dress up their pets. I don't know what it's like these days, but back then, the parade began at one end of 4th Street at the oldest school building in the city - the original high school which is now a middle school. They paraded about 8-10 blocks to a nice park, where they were then served ice cream on a stick.

I think this was the second time we had done the parade. My in-laws and I dropped the kids off, then headed to a spot toward the end of the route to watch them go by, then rush to the park to join them. Never having been much good with costumes, they just came up with whatever and had a great time. We didn't dress up Fritzie, the dachschund - I think we did that the year before.

Kristen is in the green dress (mine), sunglasses, and large yellow hat. (Editorial note - I just clicked and enlarged these pictures and discovered that sometime in the last 30 years, somebody circled themselves!)

Kev is beside her with the baseball uniform. I can't for the life of me remember where we got that.

When we got to the park, I saw Kristen standing there with her ice cream. I asked her where Kev was. She was 5, if I recall. She looked up at me with those big innocent blue eyes and said, "I don't know. I just turned around to say, 'Isn't this good ice cream?' and he wasn't there!"

Yikes - there were 900 kids in the park. No sign of Kevin anywhere. Talk about instant panic. It hadn't been long before this that Adam had been taken from that Sears store - the little boy whose father then began America's Most Wanted, and whose murderer has just been identified all these years later. My first thought was that he looked so cotton-pickin' cute that day, somebody could just grab him and take him home to be theirs.

The next thought was that we had walked over to the parade from our former house, which my in-laws had bought when they moved out here. To get to the park, we had to walk over a little stream. We ran over there, relieved to find that it was well protected from a child falling off the little bridge.

An older couple from our church lived across the street from the park. We went there to ask to use their phone (LONG before cell phones) and called the police. As I was sticking my head in the police car giving them the vital statistics of my adorable little blonde boy, a call came in from the parade coordinator - Harvey Ruegsegger. He had just received a call from someone in the school office. Kevin was sitting on the counter in the office, having a Mountain Dew with the cheerleaders, who had helped with the parade. It seems that he had decided to head back to where he had last seen me - 3 years old, walking by himself, crossing the busy street, and heading back to the school, 10 blocks away, with his little bat slung over his shoulder.

I cannot describe the relief. I can't even remember if I went down there or if they brought him back to the park. The band director had spotted him, picked him up, and took him to the school office. I actually ran into him at the 4th of July celebration recently and thanked him again.

There were some ramifications that lasted for awhile - Kev became very clingy and shy. He didn't want his picture taken. He didn't want to be the center of attention. He didn't want to go to the county fair parade later that summer - the idea of a parade was too daunting - he thought he had to be in it, I guess.

I had been thinking of taking a little part-time job in a school cafeteria to make a little money and try to ease him into being away from me for just a couple hours a day. When Kev found out about that possibility, he said, "Mommy, can't you just stay home and be my mommy?" Nuff said.

The next year he did go to preschool two mornings a week, which eased him into "Show and Tell" and class pictures and prepared him for kindergarten the next year.

He got lost again as he got older, lost in a way only God could find him. Thank God, He did.

Totally and completely changing the subject - please remember to pray for Kristen at Smoke Free Mama as she begins her nicotine-free life! Thank you!


Diane@Diane's Place said...

I'm thankful that I never "lost" Jessica. I think my heart would have just stopped. I can't imagine the dread that comes over you, not knowing where your child is or what's happening to them.

It seems that Google has incorporated the Blogger Following application so there are some glitches with it. I suppose that's why I disappeared off your Followers widget.

I can't tell if I'm back on there or not, but I do know that both of us have the new Google widget now. And I also know that I didn't stop following you, so I guess it'll all come out in the wash, eventually.

Happy Friday, and hope this weekend is good for you with the young'uns.

I'll go leave Kristen another encouraging comment and I so hope she' does well with quitting smoking.

Love and hugs,


Hootin' Anni said...

Oh my oh my....what a dreadful all we parents have nightmares about. I'm so glad the little tot decided to enjoy the mountain dew while waiting to be found.!!!!! They are something, aren't they?

Susie said...

How scary for both you and Kevin!
I'm so thankful that I never experienced that with my own two. I got lost in Yosemite Park as a child of 7 and can still remember the absolute terror I felt.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

My heart was pounding as I was reading!! It's so hard to imagine that at 3 years old they are so willful. I have gotten little lectures and comments about being a better parent but I have come to realize that I am. STUFF HAPPENS! I cannot say it was 30 or 45 seconds before I looked down for her again, all I know is that I looked away and she was gone.

I am thankful that all worked out for the both of us in the end. I sincerely hope that is my e and only incident with "misplacing" my child, but I still have another. lol! Or don't they say you make all your mistakes with the first? HAHAHA!

Thanks for sharing your story!

Linda said...

Oh Dawn - what a heart-stopping moment. I have often thought that I can hardly imagine anything more horrific than having your child taken and just not knowing.... awful.
I'm so thankful the story ended well - as will this one. Praying faithfully for all of you.

Sammy said...

Oh Dawn, how frightening! I can only imagine how frantic you must have been. Thank goodness for the band director. What a good man. I have nightmares that Khai is lost and I am running as fast as I can to find him. Typical new-mom dreams, I know. :-)

I am definitely praying for Kristen. I am always SO happy when someone quits smoking and I know she can do this!

Have a nice weekend,

nancygrayce said...

Losing a child in a crowd is such a frightening experience. I "lost" my second born in a Gayfers in Mobile when he was about 2 years old. Just like that he was gone! I had visions of him getting out into the mall or worse out of the mall into the parking lot. I ran to the counter and had them start announcing a lost child. I was, to put it mildly, hysterical!

Suddenly, I turned and saw his little face sticking out of a rack of clothes.....he had hidden, then when he saw how upset I was, he was afraid to come out. I grabbed him and hugged him and spanked him! I remember being so relieved and thankful.

Needled Mom said...

What a fright it must have been for you. I am sure that we all have a similar story that makes us able to relate to a lost child. There is nothing to describe that pit in the stomach feeling unless you have been there.

I will pray for Kristen. That is a tough habit to break, but she will be so happy once she does.

Have a great week, Dawn. Hugs.

A Hint of Home said...

So glad there was a happy ending to that story.
Kids can be gone in a second. It's a scary thing.
Have a good weekend.

Laurie in Ca. said...

I too had an experience like this with the twins when they were two years old. Makes you swallow your heart for sure. I hang on to my grandkids extra tight when we are out in public. I am with you Dawn, my Eric and your Kevin have extra guardian angels for the times we can't be there.:) God is so good. I love you friend and hope your weekend is a wonderful one with the kiddo's, all 4 of them:) Us grandmas sure do love our kids don't we? Praying for Kristen too.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Sharon Lynne said...

Good story. It was fun to see the actual event in pictures. I'm glad Kevin was okay. God had a plan for him...and he still has one!

I once left my youngest in the nursery at church. Just as we arrived home and were driving down the driveway, C said, "Mom where is D?" AAAAGH!

When we got back to church the place looked deserted. But then I spotted a teen-aged girl who worked in the nursery wandering around the campus holding D's hand.

Sharon Lynne said...

P.S. I'll be praying for Kristin!

SentimentsbyDenise said...

Oh my, Dawn! This story brought back a memory of my little boy walking away from me in Target one day, about 23 years ago. Yes, I freaked! And yes, we found him...over in the toy aisle.
In the years that followed my kids always wondered why I was so protective. I hated that feeling that I experienced when I first realized he wasn't next to me anymore. What a memory!

Mary said...


It seems most kids get lost and I'm glad that Kevin was found safe and sound. That is really scary.

I remember when Michelle got lost. She never came home from school. I looked everywhere. I phoned the school. I phoned her friends mothers. She was 8 years old and she was no where to be found.

Finally at 6pm, she showed up. She had been at her friend's and the mother didn't even realize she was there. I couldn't believe it. But at least she was safe.

Two years ago, Michelle phoned. Jordan didn't come home from school. He was 9. I jumped in the car and headed over there. We looked for him and couldn't find him. I went to the school and Michelle's car was there, so I went in. The staff had also been hunting for him. He had wandered off with a friend and was in tears. I hugged him and told him to never do that again. He cried, but he never did wander off again.

I told Michelle he was a chip off the block. LOL We are so lucky that both of them were found safe and sound and I'm glad Kevin was also...both times.


Jess said...

I can't imagine the terrifying ordeal at all, and I hope and pray I never have to know that fear.

Awesome story, but not in a bad way.. you know what i mean.

Jason got lost in Wal mart when he was little...even to this day the fear had then is real.. and he talks about how terrifying it really is to be lost...

Lots of love to you...and this post wasn't really that long...LOL


PEA said...

I can understand your panic when you couldn't find Kevin that time because I "lost" Shawn at the mall when he was only 2 years old. We had gone to Woolco and after paying for my purchases, I took him out of the cart, set him on the floor and turned around to get my bags out of the cart. When I turned around again he was gone. It was instant panic. I went all through the store, calling out his name...I then went down the whole mall, looking in every store, asking people if they had seen a little boy on his own...nothing. I was in a blind panic by that time and was just advancing the Woolco doors again when I happened to look at the mall entrance doors and there was Shawn being led my two elderly ladies. They had found him in between the entrance doors...I didn't even want to think what would have happened if someone had let him out into the parking lot!!!! It didn't seem to faze on him at's ME that was clingy and wouldn't let go of him for a long time after! lol xoxo