Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Lost Him.

I have heard from several people in town the past 2 days asking if "Blake" was the missing child the policemen were looking for Sunday night.
And to answime.  her for long stretches of ter that question: Yes. Yes he was.
I lost my son.

Ugh.  Even just typing that causes the hair on my neck to stand up, reliving the terror the hour that he was missing. 
He was playing with the neighbors cat, Phil.  Phil and Blake are buddies.  They can sit and entertain each other for long periods of time.  My in-laws just left after a day of celebrating Leah's birthday.  I walked them out.  Then returned to the backyard to see Blake and Phil still playing, in the middle of the yard.  I returned to the house to help see Jerad off before his night shift at work began.  I then returned to an empty backyard.  Silent.  I yelled a few times.  To no response, which is normal.  Blake is non-verbal for the most part.  But on occasion, after some hollering for him, he will pop his head up out of the tree house or from behind the trees...or out of the garage.  And my heartbeats return to normal pace.  But not today.  I did a quick search and both gates were locked, no doors were open on the house.  But I did a quick search of the house as well. I even had the girls do a second time over the house--every closet.  Pantry.  Small space he could possibly climb into.

Nothing. 
I moved outside the yard, thinking maybe he got through a small crack or fence opening I wasn't aware of.  I yelled..."Blake!"  "Blake, buddy!" 

Silence.

I walked a little faster.  My heart picked up pace. My throat got drier.  My neighbor heard me hollering and offered to help look. He picked up on my panic.  I told the girls to stay in the yard.  I was going to look around the busy street that runs near our house...praying to God he didn't make it there.  On my way to the street, I noticed muddy foot prints going up our chain link fence....and I realized he had escaped...add climbing over a fence to his list of goals achieved in his PT goals for the last year.

The reality that he had escaped was almost paralyzing.  20 minutes had passed.  Still nothing.  I began knocking on neighbors doors...of course, no one was home this evening.  No one to ask if they'd seen him.  I made another loop around the cul-de-sac and the neighbor who was helping me met me in the middle and said..."you better call 911..."

I had debated it.  I didn't want to sound like over-reactive mom.  I kept thinking he was probably just hiding somewhere. 

So I made the call.  And within minutes several squad cars were in our driveway.  They scanned the perimeter...just the sight of them evoked wild thoughts in my mind.  Was this going to turn into a missing person case?  Did someone kidnap him?  What if we don't find him by dark?  Will he be scared?  Is he crying somewhere?

I had to keep it together though.  Leah, who already runs high anxiety, can sense my stress a mile away...so I took some deep breaths.  Swallowed my emotions and answered all the questions they had.  I stood in our yard with my arms around the girls...trying to call Jerad so he could come home and help.  Feeling helpless.  Praying my heart out.  Another neighbor showed up to help.  Praise God for our neighborhood. 

Almost exactly an hour after the call went out.  Right as I was telling Jerad to come home now.  I hear the call over the radio..."We found him.  We found him."

And I sighed a breath of relief...breath I wasn't even aware I was holding in.  I took off running toward the backyard...he had gotten a ways away.  Almost a 1/2 mile.  Playing in the mud and water near a water spill off creek.  And I gasped again, thinking of the worst.  Praising God that wasn't the end, in this case.

I look over the top of the hill and I see him kicking and wiggling in the neighbor's arms...covered from head to foot in mud...he caught eye contact with me from 200' away and he grins real big and waves his little heart out.

Not having a clue the terror he caused me the past hour.  He was happy as a lark.  Playing peacefully in the mud and water.  And I'm guessing chasing the cat, Phil, all the way from our house.

I scooped him up and squeezed him...muttering under my breath "I don't know whether to spank your little bottom or squeeze you to death."  The police officers followed us back.  They interacted with Blake in a loving, fun way.  Giving him stickers.  Chatting with him.  Giving him high-fives.  I answered the rest of their questions and they went on their way.

This is every mom's worst nightmare.  Since then, I have tried to think of 1000's of ways to thank those who helped us.  My neighbors.  The policemen and women who showed up.  The fire department.  There isn't a topic list on Pinterest that says "best gifts for thanking a neighbor who finds your lost son"...

I am laughing about it now.  Still not sleeping well.  But starting to laugh.  A little.  All the while I am looking up tracking devices for kids like Blake...who have no comprehension of stranger danger.  Busy streets.  And staying in a backyard.

And thanking a God who looked over my son, and will always look over these special ones. 

4 comments:

  1. Count yourself lucky that you weren't charged with child neglect! Autistic kids die on a regular basis cuz their parents can't be bothered to supervise 'em properly!

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  2. Well Kate, I am fairly certain that you have no damn idea what you are talking about. Child neglect would not even be the proper charge to use in an instance like this. Child neglect is a charge you would use for the parent of a child who is malnourished or maybe not provided with health care services or something in that nature. I think what you were thinking was a charge of child endangerment. However, for the police to make a case of child endangerment they would have to prove that the guardian was purposeful in their actions or did not take necessary steps to ensure the safety of the child. Being that the mother had briefly left her kid in a fenced in backyard with the gates locked would not meet the criteria the police would need to establish that the child was left in a position of danger. Due to the fact that you decided to pass judgment on this mother without any real knowledge leads me to the fact that I am sure that you have never witnessed a child be able to learn something seemingly instantly (like climbing a fence) or have watched one do something you did not know they were capable of. Also Kate I am glad they you must be such a good supervisor but clearly missed the freaking fact that this did not happen to an Autistic child but a child with Down Syndrome. Way to pay attention Kate!

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  3. I'm sitting at our home computer, which I rarely do anymore, and found your page that I had bookmarked long ago. I miss reading about your family! Do you have a new blog? Hope all is well!

    Melanie McNitt
    East Jordan, MI

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