The strangest thing happened on Saturday.
It started out like a typical Saturday morning. The girls and I piled in the car and went to dance class. Dance class ended with just enough time to get home and change for soccer game/lacrosse practice. On my return trip home I made a sharp right turn onto a steep hill in my neighborhood. When I turned the corner I couldn’t believe my eyes. There in the middle of the street was the cutest fair haired toddler. He was just standing there holding a stuffed animal, all by himself!
Thank God I saw him in time, the road is pretty steep and it would have been easy to miss him. He was so small and I was up so high in the minivan, (and yes, of course I drive a minivan!) Naturally I assumed when I stopped my car a frantic parent would run over exclaiming that they had just taken their eyes off him for a minute. I figured the mom or dad must have been in the yard or garage and the boy got away from them. However to my surprise nobody came. I put the car in park got out and walked over to the boy. Still nobody came.
It was starting to get a little strange. He was as cute as could be with curly blonde hair and clearly not afraid of strangers because he let me pick him up. And yet still no frantic mom or dad emerged from any of the houses.
I walked up to the closest house with the little boy in tow and knocked on the door… no answer… no car in the driveway. Who did this boy belong too?
I asked him if he knew where his house was or where his mommy was? He just said “Mommy” and then I asked “Mommy?” and he repeated “Mommy” After a few rounds of this I realized we weren’t getting anywhere. I started to scour the neighboring houses for any sign of life. Every house was closed up. No sign of anyone.
Where were his parents?
He didn’t seem to know which house was his. I kept looking up and down the street but still no mom, no dad… nobody.
Finally a few houses up a notice a grandmother and grandfather with their granddaughter coming out of their garge. I run up the street with the boy. Keep in mind all the while my kids are still in the car in the middle of the street, I probably should have moved the car but honestly it happened so fast and I kept expecting that parents to show up. In addition, to make matters worse my kids are getting upset that this little boy has lost his family.
I approach the house full of hope that these are his grandparents. Only to have my hopes deflated when they tell me not only is he not their grandson they know everyone on the block and he doesn’t even live there. Now what was I going to do? And where did this little boy come from?
Stranger and stranger.
Then a woman appeared at the bottom of the street. I knew in an instant this was his mother. She had the frantic look of a mommy who had lost her son. She ran up the hill to where we were standing and was reunited with her son. Behind her were here husband and their daughter. Apparently the family was around the corner looking at a house they were hoping to buy. While they were looking at the house the boy must have wandered off outside and up the street. They were so happy to find their son, but they were strangely quite and did seem a little embarrassed that he was able to wander off unnoticed. I think they were a little in shock too from the panic when they couldn’t find him. We have all been there, for a few seconds you can’t find your child on the playground or in the store. That feeling of panic can be devastating.
I was so relieved that his parents eventually appeared and it was a happy ending. It was a little scary though, how easily he could have been run over or even abducted. And what a strange coincidence with my mind focusing on Etan Patz and child abductions. How weird that I would find a lost child.
I always feel things like this happen for a reason, a little warning or a reminder. It is someone’s way of warning us to keep on eye on our kids, or to appreciate how lucky we all are.