Last weekend, Max, who will be five years old next month, came upstairs, into our bedroom, and asked if he could watch cartoons. I told him no because I was working, and needed it to be quiet. He walked out. Richard was downstairs preparing for our upcoming RV trip. Mason (age 7 weeks) was asleep on my lap. The other kids were away for a day trip to a friend’s camp.
About 30 minutes later, Richard came upstairs and asked, “Where’s Max?”
I replied, “I thought he was with you.”
Richard called his name. No answer. Richard kept calling him and I got immediately alarmed when we didn’t quickly hear an answer. I jumped up, ran down the stairs, and put Mason on the sofa. I glanced up at the window, and saw Richard running through the yard, still calling Max.
My stomach was in my throat and I raced upstairs, calling him loudly and looking under covers on beds and even in closets (thinking he’d fallen asleep somewhere). I raced back downstairs to the mudroom on a whim and looked in Frank’s camp trunk, which has a dire warning on it that says children can suffocate inside. I’d left the lock off the day before because it was stuffed full of camping equipment, but you never know what a kid can squeeze into! He wasn’t stuck in there, thank goodness.
Sometimes the bathroom door in the RV sticks so I ran outside to the RV, screaming his name by now. Richard passed me in the kitchen, also screaming his name, and heading back up the stairs. Max wasn’t anywhere in the RV, in the yard, or in the garage. I even looked over the fence, toward the river, screaming his name, all the while knowing he’s too afraid to walk beyond the boundaries of our fence. He’s very wary of strangers and will even back away from them in stores. Oh God, I was so scared! Just writing this makes my stomach hurt all over again. And I kept thinking, “If only I’d let him watch cartoons he’d still be here!!!”
At this point, all I knew was that Max was gone, like he’d simply vanished from our lives. I assumed he’d been kidnapped and I knew we needed help NOW.
I was praying out loud as I raced back inside. Richard, who was visibly panicked more than he’d ever been in his life, was holding Mason, who had woken up to the screaming.
I said, “We have to call 9-1-1!”
I grabbed the phone and at that exact second, I heard Max’s sing-song voice upstairs say, “Daddy?”
I dropped the phone an we both simultaneously yelled at him to come downstairs RIGHT NOW!
He came down and stood by the sofa, his head hanging low. We demanded to know where he’d been. He sheepisly replied, “I was hiding under my bed…”
After I started crying, which made Max cry, we explained to him what he’d put us through, how we thought he’d been taken away by bad people, and how we thought we’d never see him again.
After that horrible, horrible incident, all I can say is…I’m really looking forward to when Max has children of his own someday!!
You can see Max’s mischievous personality in THIS PHOTO (taken while he was hunting aliens).
We’re hitting the road today for two weeks in our RV. I think you’ll agree that we need a vacation! We’ll be meandering our way from Maine to Pennsylvania and back. You can track our travels and see photos at: http://www.wirelesstrips.com
Hugs to all!
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