Friday, November 18, 2011
Lost and Found
On a recent family trip to the local grocery store for some soft serve ice cream, our Little O was somehow left behind at the deli. I'm sure it had to do with the fact that I was picking up some groceries, some of the kids were using the restroom and others were wandering around whoknowswhere when it was decided that we should load up in the van. No one had been specifically assigned to Little O and I imagine that he was quite content watching the television at the service deli while enjoying his melty ice cream cone - until he noticed that he was alone.
As I stood in the checkout line I got a call on my cell phone from Coolister asking if Little O was with me. "No," I answered. "Is he lost?"
"He's not with us in the van. But maybe he's with ElemenoB."
I was just about to pay when I saw Allen come in to the store with a look of concern on his face. "Little O's not with you?" he asked, but then, seeing the answer was in the negative, he took off to look for him.
I hurriedly paid then rushed to the customer service desk to have them alert their employees of our lost little boy - blonde hair, in a dark green coat. I saw Coolister canvassing the south side of the store and panic started to set in. Where was my little boy? Had he wandered outside? Was he scared? Had someone taken him? Oh, my heart.
Before I had time to figure out where to begin searching, Allen appeared with Little O in his arms. A nice lady had found him holding his ice cream and crying and had brought him with her to the check out, after which she planned to bring him to the customer service desk and help him find his family.
I have never felt such relief.
We gathered the search party into the van and Little O would not leave my side. He was obviously frightened by the whole experience and would not stop saying my name. I tried to get him into his carseat but he kept crying, "I want to hold you, mom! I just want to hold you!" which is his way of saying that he wants me to hold him. I buckled him in and sat near him so he could hold my hand. Our sweet little guy finally fell asleep holding my hand and anytime I tried to remove it, he gripped it tighter, even as he slept. And I didn't mind. I was just so happy to have his little hand in mine.
As I have had time to reflect on our experience I have had many thoughts. But the one that stands out the most is that we all need to look out for each other. We are just a big family, really, sharing this temporary existence. When one of us becomes lost, in whatever way, we should form a search party and not give up until the lost is found. Once we are all reunited, sometimes we just need to hold the hand of the one who has been found until things are right with them again and they're ready to stand alone.
Little O has been a little clingy since that day, rarely leaving my side.
Actually, maybe it's not him. Maybe it's me.