Seven Minutes

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. 

 

BoyIt 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!”

The volunteer spoke into his radio, relaying the information to the rest of the team. I went up to the vineyard to look for my son. Another volunteer came with me. She said that sometimes kids wander into the vines. I heard the band announce that my child was lost. We looked down the rows of grape vines. He wasn’t there. I went back to the main path, heading for the parking lot, scanning the tents and the people again. I saw more friends looking for him, but again, my son was not there. In the crowd of strangers I thought, Any one of them could just take him. Oh my God, what if he’s gone? What if he’s really gone? 

I’d almost reached the entrance to the festival when I saw my husband coming up the path, carrying our son. I stopped short. The panic subsided. I started to breathe.

“Where was he?” I said as my husband reached me.

“At the car. They said he walked out of the vines and went to the car. One of the volunteers was heading toward him when I got there.”

I shook my head as my husband put our son in my arms. “Oh my God.”

“I’ll go pack up. You take him out of here.”

“Okay.” I stood there, rocking my baby. It was all that I could do right then.

I learned more of the details later, as we drove out of there. My husband had both kids with him; he turned around to pack up a camp chair, stood up and our son was gone. He asked our daughter where her brother went. She didn’t know what to say so she said “He went to Mommy.”  I understood why he seemed so angry when he asked me where our son was.

It was my husband who told the band to make the announcement. The singer refused three times before my husband badgered him into doing it. There were four police cars at the event, and several officers. My husband had yelled at one of the policemen “A THREE-YEAR-OLD GOT PAST YOUR SECURITY!”

Annoyed, the cop said, “You should’ve been watching your kid!” His supervisor scolded him. She told him my husband was absolutely right.

My husband was mad that the couple sitting in my son’s path didn’t say anything. I’d like to think they would have if they’d noticed him.

But the detail that had the most impact on me was that so many of our friends jumped to help us look for our son. We knew about eleven people at the festival and at least seven of them searched while the other stayed with our daughter. And I’m willing to bet that the other three didn’t know what was going on until the band made the announcement.

I can’t express how grateful I am. I’m so grateful that we found our son, that it was only a scare, and that so many people cared enough to help. We didn’t ask anyone to help. And it turns out that we didn’t have to. I have never felt so loved and supported. We really have some amazing friends. I’m so glad we’re back here with all of them.