Ever have one of those things happen that reinforce how little you have control over anything? That emphasize the loving hands of an Almighty God who really is looking out for you? And that you would *never* live through again if given any choice in the matter?
Today, one of those things happened at our house. I'm alternating between shaking and praising. It was terrifying. Michael ran off.
No big deal, you say. Michael runs off a lot. It's his coping mechanism of choice. And you always know where he's going: the bathhouse. Except for this time. This time it happened while I was in the laundry room, so he specifically avoided the bathhouse because that's where I was. This time, not one of the other kids hollered at him to stop, thereby alerting me that all was not well 30 yards away on our little lot. This time I had no idea where to start looking.
I returned from the laundry room, opened the door, and saw 3 of my 4 kids. "Where's Michael?" ...silence... "We thought he was going to you. He got mad and..." "Which direction did he go?"...silence... "STAY HERE AND LOCK THE DOOR!!!" Off I ran, shouting for him, knowing that he never responds to his name being called but unable to stop the reflex. Barefoot, in my pajamas because my clothes were in the wash, hair unkempt...not caring at all. WHERE ARE YOU, MICHAEL???
Michael was not in the bathhouse. He was not on our lot or the neighbor's. Not on the roof of the rv. Not at the pool or the clubhouse. Not on any of the streets in the complex that I cruised, making a nuisance of myself by shouting out the window for him. Nowhere. Surely he wouldn't...No, it's too scary to think...Did he *leave the rv park?*
I turned the car out onto the main road, shaking at the possibilities. We live a couple of blocks from HWY192, the main drag for tourists, hotels, and the main entrance to Walt Disney World. It's busy. People don't know where they're going. And not everybody is very nice. Surely my baby isn't out here. Except that he was.
I saw the landscaper truck for our complex and our office manager standing by the side of the road. They know Michael; maybe they've seen him. I pull over. "We hoped you'd be here soon. We have Michael." Don't collapse...hold it together..."Thank you so much!"..."We've called the police. They'll be here soon. Michael did good. He knew his name, where he lived, your name. He's very smart."...don't scream at them and demand to know why they didn't just bring him home but involved the police..."Yeah, he's smart. Just doesn't understand that running off isn't an appropriate response to being upset."...O, Lord, what do I do? The cops?? Three parents in the area have had their kids removed and been sent to jail for this exact thing. Kids take off sometimes. He's been gone for all of 10 minutes. LORD????..."Well, we knew it was yours the minute he said his name. You have to keep a better eye on him. He was going to cross 192 because he wanted to go to the store." ...silence. just be thankful he's okay. tears, tears, tears. FEAR! LORD?????
The police arrived after what seemed an eternity. Michael was in my car, the landscapers waited patiently. Officer Campbell walked up and asked what happened. I gave him the short version: laundry room, sibling fight, autistic response, search, found. He walked over and spoke with the landscapers. I couldn't hear their story. He came back and tried to get Michael to look him in the eye. He wouldn't. He sat balled up, rocking and smiling. Finally, the officer asked Michael why he ran. *grin* "'Cause my brother, Ben, made me mad," spoken in his baby voice that he uses when he's having trouble relating. He uses it a lot. Officer Campbell tried to communicate that he scared his mommy and everybody when he ran off, that he can't do that, do you understand? No eye contact, but a brief nod of the head. Is he getting that this is the level of communication with Michael all the time?? That he just has no grasp of the danger?? Please, Lord, give him insight. Please don't let our family be the one featured on the news tonight as being the unfit, unsupervisory homeschooling proof that parents shouldn't have the right to care for their own kids.
After a couple of futile attempts to drive home the seriousness of the situation, Officer Campbell asked for my identification. He ran my license, came back and verified with Michael that I was indeed his mother, handed me my license with a parting, "Michael, remember. Don't leave your house without your mommy," and went his way. No report written or filed. No reprimands to me for not watching out for my child. Thank you, Lord. He didn't ask where the offending sibling was or why he wasn't in school. He apparently understood. Thank you, Lord. You do care and involve Yourself in the daily lives of your children. Just, please, can we not do this ever again? Thanks.
It is about time for an update!
4 years ago