Friday, August 03, 2007

Lost My Child - The Most Terrifying 20 Minutes of My Life

Because this blog is anonymous - I will tell you this story. I suppose it is not something I should admit to - to the people I know. It probably makes me look like a very bad parent. And yes, I see that I made a mistake. But no, I'm not a bad parent. I am certainly a very thankful one, that is for sure.Monday morning about 10am I made my way out to the beach with 4 kids (my 3 and my niece). The kids plopped down all their beach gear, threw their shoes close by, and took off for the ocean. They were all together, ages 12, 10, 7 and 5. They know their limits in regards to how far out they are allowed to go when I'm not in there with them. I go about getting a chair from the lifeguard, getting it set up, along with spreading out the kids blanket, collecting all the shoes, getting our spread all organized.I then go down to the ocean to play with the kids. Oldest and 10 yr. old are swimming and diving in the waves. 7 yr. old niece is ankle deep looking for shells and those small sand digging crab like things. 5 year old is . . . 5 year old is . . . . well, where is 5 year old? I scan the area where I expect him to be. No 5 yr old. I scan the area to the left and right of where he should be. Still no 5 yr old. I look on the beach, out of the water. Still, can not find him. My heart is racing now. I call 12 yr. old out of water - "do you know where your brother is?" No. He begins looking. I call 10 yr and 7yr over, "do you know where your little brother is?" No. We all look. We can.not.find.him! I tell 12 yr. old to go get lifeguard and bring him to me as I keep looking. Tears are threating to fall. I am glad I have on my sunglasses to hide my panic. This is a very busy beach. People are looking at me. At this point I get the feeling that my son is gone from this world. I feel sure he has drowned. Panic starts to sieze my heart. I pray. It's all I can do. I pray for the Lord to give me my son, alive. I pray to get him back in my arms. I ask the Lord that if for some reason that is not His will, that He at least allow me to have his body. If he is dead, I want to know. I don't want to live with him missing, always wondering, no closure. I think of the girl lost in Aruba. I put this in God's hands, but I was SO afraid. I was so scared.Lifeguard arrives, I give him the description of what 5 yr. old is wearing - a very cute bathing suit I got on sale at www.cwd.com - blue with green lobsters. Tell him 5yr old's name, description. Lifeguard tells me, "we'll find him. This happens at least 4 times a week". I reply in tears, "but not to me! My son is not a wanderer. He is not adventuresome." I think about how he doesn't even like to go into a room unless someone else turns on the light. He won't go upstairs when no one else is up there. He HATES to sleep alone. If we don't let him sleep with his sister we have to lay with him to get him to sleep. I think about his hugs and kisses. How he steals my "sugar" from under my neck. Of how this unexpected, unplanned child is so loved, treasured and a part of me that I can't imagine my life without him. "Please God, help me find him!"I try calling my HWH who is playing golf, he doesn't answer.5 minutes pass. Another 5 minutes go by. Lifeguard comes to me - "We've found him". I don't get my hopes up. I don't want to be disappointed. The supervisor pulls up on his ATV and gives me a ride. We pass 3 hotels, then, about 1/2 mile down pull up to a lifeguard stand. There he is. Smiling. I get him down and hug him so tight I'm sure that's why when I looked at his face next - he was crying. I squeezed the tears right out of him! I kissed him and held him and told him how much I loved him. Never in my life had I been so happy to see anyone.We ride the ATV back to our spot, where the other kids were sitting - anxiously waiting for our return. I sit down with 5 yr. old, hug and kiss him more. Get him a drink and snack, then I go play with him in the ocean. When we get out of the water he wants to play in the sand with his niece. I walk back to the chair. I want to walk backwards, never taking my eyes off of him. I should have. But I don't.People are watching me. Talking, thinking their thoughts. I've thought them. I've probably said them. "She should have watched her children more closely." "Who would send their teenage daughter to a foreign island without their parents with them?" "I am so glad that is not me." Some of them may have been my customers. Some of them came up to talk to me (some offered to get me anything I needed). But I didn't really care what they thought. I was too busy thanking Jesus for my son. That day could have ended up so differently. 5 hours later as we walked to our car, I thought of how I could be returning to my car without him. The thought itself almost brought me to my knees. And yes, I have been thanking God every time I think about it. But now, after reliving this, typing it out, I want to go now, and get on my knees, and really thank Him and worship Him.

8 comments:

Kristiem10 said...

What a scary story. I am so glad God saw fit to return your son to you. A blessing indeed!

Maria said...

It is always scary to come that close to something so terrible. And, I believe that there are few parents out there who haven't had a close shave.

I've never almost lost my child, but I did lose track of her for a short while at a swim meet and just those two short minutes felt like hours.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am trying to figure out how you made your way there as I don't recognize anyone on your blogroll....

Denise said...

I cannot imagine the horror and the fear you went through during those minutes, and praise God for the safety of your son. Did he ever say what made him wander off like that? I remember when I was young and at the beach, how easy it was once you got to the waters edge to get disoriented. I'd keep looking back to see where my family was sitting. When I was walking back toward them it was so easy to lose site of them sitting on blankets with people walking by etc. It can be scary, I'm so relieved that this ended well for you.
(((big hugs.)))
and thanks for sharing, this just reminds us that we can never stop watching our little ones.

Chappyswife said...

Oh.my.gosh. My heart stopped as I read this. I can't tell you how many times I've been scared to death when I couldn't find one of my children for just a second. I don't know if I could live for 20 min. like that! Kids are so quick!!! I am so glad it turned out fine!

Overwhelmed! said...

Oh Vail, my heart leapt in fear for you as I read this post. You are NOT a bad mother. It can happen to any of us in a blink of an eye (that's the scary thing). I've lost track of my son before and, for the Grace of God, I've tracked him down (in a bookstore, for example). It scared the wits out of me!

I'm so very thankful that your little guy is okay. Thank you God for leading you to him!

hakucho said...

Just terrifying!! I'm so glad your story had a happy ending and your little one was found safe!

I think every mother has experienced a moment or two of heart stopping terror when they can locate their child. I can only imagine if it was longer than a moment or two...just plain terrifying!!

April said...

I just have chills - I have 3 little ones (oldest is 7) and know how easy it is for them to just get away - even though we are watching. I lost my youngest at the soccer fields last Spring - we were all playing with a puppy someone had brought and all of a sudden his little hands weren't in the bunch anymore - and he was no where in sight. My instant thought was someone had grabbed him if he had stood up and walked a few steps off. We searched high and low, asked the fellow parents standing at the only exit to the parking lot if they'd seen a 2 year old (NO), etc. Now here is the funny thing - he was sitting in my fold up chair that was facing the other direction - he was so tiny his head didn't come over the top and his legs didn't dangle far enough down for us to see those either. He was happily sitting there eating his snack.

melodyofamom said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes. This is every parent's nightmare. thank GOD yours had a happy ending. I am so happy that you found your son! Praise the Lord for answering your prayers.