Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I didn't think it could happen to us

There were 4 adults.

There were 3 kids.

Pretty good ratio.

We were watching the magic show at Seaport Village, an outdoor shopping area in San Diego.

The kids were up front, the adults were behind the magician and had a great view of the kids.

Griffin, was asked a few questions from the magician and was stealing the show.

Magician: Griffin, Pick a number.

Griffin: 4376.

Crowd laughs.

This went on for a bit, the magician told us to watch out, this was exactly how he acted at 8 years old.

Hayden gets bored and hangs out with the adults during the remainder of the show.

The magic show ends, Griffin and Carter come looking for tip money for the magician.

As we are getting our contribution together I notice the swarms of people leaving the area. There must have been over 60 kids watching the show and at least as many adults.

Carter and Griffin go give the money to the magician. I look around and my heart stops.

WHERE IS HAYDEN?

I start to scan the crowd. Did someone take him during the confusion of the show ending? Did he go back in the shop behind us?

Somehow I get the words out that Hayden is missing.

I run into the store behind us. No Hayden.

I start to panic.

The man sitting near us says, Are you looking for the little boy? He went that way.

We break off and start searching the shopping area. Seaport Village boasts 54 stores and 17 restaurants on 14 acres of waterfront property. I think Linda took Griffin and my dad or brother must have had Carter. I started walking aimlessly, checking in stores as I went by, I think it was shock. I could not imagine how this happened. He was just right there next to us.

How long had he been gone before we noticed? How far could he have gone? Did someone take him? I can not remember what he was wearing. Why can't I find a security guard?

I still can not imagine how much time passed between when he left and when Linda and Griffin found him. He had wandered off to the other side of the shopping center, he was FAR from us. It was probably no more than 10 minutes, maybe less. It felt like HOURS.

After I cried and hugged him so tight, I asked him why he left us. He said he wanted to go back to the store that makes the special pennies. You know what he means, you put in 2 quarters and 1 penny and turn the handle, out comes a souvenir penny.

He was nowhere near the penny store. He couldn't find it.

This happened during our Spring Break trip to California, almost 2 months ago.

My heart still aches at the thought of what happened and what could have happened.

4 comments:

Shasta said...

Oh my, I know just how you felt. My oldest son has done this twice. Both times he was right with us and then he was gone, and both times, he just wasn't paying attention, went the opposite way we did, and got lost. Once at a zoo and once at a huge bike race, both places with thousands of people. Thankfully, both times he found someone in charge and stayed with them. I cried both times and the feeling I got in my stomach was just indescribable! Worst feeling in the world to know that your child is lost and imagine that something may have happened to them.

I'm so glad you were able to find him and he was safe, but so sorry you had to go through that, it's awful!

Elaine A. said...

I had an experience similar to this recently. The feeling of your child just being "gone" is paralyzing. I'm so very glad he was found safe and sound.

Erin said...

My heart started racing fast just imagining how you felt, or how I would feel if something like that happened...thank God all is well!

MeKimka said...

I did this to my mom when I was about 4. I wanted to go with her friend and ran into a crowd. When you're short everthing is disorientating and you can't find your way back. Luckily a saleslady took me to the side and had an announcemant made, but I can't expect my kid to be any better than me. I am a neurotic watcher. I hope I can break it when she gets married.