I apologize for the late post. I went to New York for a funeral. Pleas read on.
The first time I met Mary, she was moving into the house next door to mine. She was tall, Italian and had short black hair, curled and coiffed so it never moved. Her seven-year-old daughter, Beth, asked me if I wanted to have a picnic on the front lawn. I was nine and wary of hanging out with younger kids, but she was so nice and she was right next door, so I said yes. Beth and I laid a blanket out on the tall grass that grew above the septic tank. We could hear her mom and dad, but mostly her mom, directing the movers as they emptied their truck. Mary was multitasking, taking care of Beth’s baby sister while she got the house in order.
God was punishing us for taking the kids to a winery. We lost our son for the longest seven minutes of our lives (See “Seven Minutes”); and, as if that wasn’t enough, we narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital.
After a two-hour ride in the minivan, we got to the vineyard’s Key West festival, where we were meeting some friends. The way the festival worked, we were supposed to do a wine tasting and buy a bottle to drink. The kids had been great in the car, but they needed to move around, so I said I’d take them and my husband and our friend Annie went to do a tasting.
I took the kids down to a field by the entrance. Some other kids were playing and I told them to race to the end and back. They ran and my six-year-old daughter easily won, but I was happy that they burned some energy. It was hot that day — but not sweltering — and we sat in the shade for a while. When they got restless, we browsed the vendors. There was a sand art vendor and the kids had fun making a multicolored baseball and a clamshell. Sand art in hand, we headed back to our spot by the band. My husband had set up the chairs and I got some wine and went to chat a little, but just then my three-year-old son kicked off a hardy cry fest. read more
Note to readers: I’m going to change my posting schedule from Saturdays/Sundays to Mondays. It seems that I don’t always have a topic by the weekend but I do on Mondays, so it works out better for all of us. Please look for new posts on Mondays going forward.
It was the worst seven minutes of my life.
My husband threw up his hands and called out, “WHERE’S (OUR SON)?” I looked around, expecting to see my three-year-old in a ten-foot radius. He wasn’t there. I widened my search to twenty feet. He wasn’t there.
Our closest friend said, “I’ll watch your daughter. Go!”
Eyes wide, trying to suppress panic, I stepped out from under the festival tent and headed toward the main drag. I scanned the path, the tents, the alleys between them. My son wasn’t there. I got to the end of the path, turned around, scanned again, saw some of our friends looking too, but I didn’t see my son. At the end of the path, one of our friends pulled me aside and had me talk to a festival volunteer.
“What’s his name?”
I told him.
What’s he wearing?
“Uhh, I don’t know. Oh God, I don’t know. Khaki shorts!”
“What color shirt?”
I’d never wanted to remember something so desperately. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!” read more
For the first time in weeks, the thermometer read below eighty degrees. I peeked out the front door, where my husband was weeding the walk. “Hey, do you wanna go for a bike ride?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said, and went to ready the bikes.
I told the kids to get dressed and I dressed myself. I was going to walk while they rode. I’d hurt my back and biking posture would kill me, plus I was pretty unsteady on my new bike. (See “Just Like Riding a Bicicle”) I hadn’t been taking my morning walks because of the heat, and I missed them. read more