Monday, December 04, 2006

Senseless

I was standing in the middle of Home Depot, like I do every weekend, trying to figure out the best type of weed and feed to get for my yard. I was actually out in the garden center at the corner where the shelves of this-and-that end, and the sea of table tops on cinder blocks covered in plants begins. I was facing the shelves with my back to the aisles-upon-aisles of various plants. Maxfield was standing on the ladder that clearly stated "employees only". A woman wearing the Home Depot orange approached and I hurried Max off the ladder in an effort to look like I was respecting the rules.

"Do you need help?" She asked. "He is okay on there as long as you got him." She said referring to the ladder.

"Yes. Actually I do. Thanks." I let Max climb the ladder as I held his hand. "I need a weed and feed that will also kill grubs and other insects. Do you have anything like that?"

She walked further up the aisle as she said something over her shoulder. I escorted Max from the ladder and started to follow the Home Depot Lady. Max stopped, he was fascinated with a bird feeder. I let him inspect the feeder as I followed the lady. The further I got down the row of fertilizers the further I was away from Max. He was too far away from my comfort zone and I called to him to catch up. Max ran up and grabbed my leg as the Home Depot Lady smiled at him. She realized that she walked us in the wrong direction and we headed back down the aisle towards the ladder, the birdfeeder and the rows upon rows of plants. She led us past the ladder, I could no longer "feel" Max at my 5 o'clock position. I stopped, looked, and saw he was at the birdfeeder. I called to him and he came running.

As he ran by, the Home Depot Lady said something about the type of granules I should use and she pointed to a bag and, and, and, and....as he ran BY?

"Did Max just run by me. " I thought, the Home Depot Lady was on her way to help another customer. I turned toward the direction Max was heading and I could not see him anywhere. All I saw was thousands of plants of various sizes and colors. My heart stopped.

"Max." I called out. "MAX." There was no reponse. "MAXFIELD ALEXANDRE." He does not know his middle name but I knew using it would make ME feel better. Still no reponse. I could not see over some of the tables of plants, into the next aisles, due to the size of the lush green leafy plants.

My head started spinning. "Ohmygodholyshit.Wherethefuckishe.Ohmygodholyshit. Hewasjustheretwofuckingsecondsago." I thought as I ran up the aisle I thought he was in.

My brain would not let up as I ran back and forth through every row. "Ohmygodholyshit.Wherethefuckishe. Not here. Holyshit he could run out into the parking lot from here and get hit by a truck. Oh fuck. Not in this row. He could get run over by a fork lift in here. Where the fuck is he? Oh Fuck a stack of paver stones could fall on him and crush him. Wherethe fuckishe? Holyshit. Someone could take him. Should I call 911?"

I stopped running. I called his name, first, middle and last, a few more times. My feet were cold. My fingers were numb.

I mentally tried to quiet my surroundings to see if I could hear his footsteps. "Shutthefuck up beep beep beep of the fork lift in the back, I am trying to listen for my son. Fucking Cash register is too loud at the front of the store. Could someone please fix that squeaky shopping cart. Someone needs to run out to the parking lot and tell people to stop pulling in here. Everybody needs to stop right fucking now. I have to tell someone to put the store in lock down. But if I take time to get someone Max may get hurt. My son is missing! What the?"

"Sir, Are you all right?" A woman asked, snapping me back to reality.

"No. I am looking for my two year old. He just ran through here." I muttered.

"What was he wearing?"

"What?" There was a ringing in my ears. "Holycrap I can't remember what he was wearing. why didn't I write it down when we left. Am I suppoed to know these thing? I guess so. I am his father. What the fuck was he wearing? Was it his red shirt? Maybe, but was it his red shirt with the white stripes or the blue stripes? Was it his red shirt at all? What the hell was he wearing?"

The lump in my throat and the dryness of my mouth made the word "RED" sound like a groan as it escaped my lips. The woman started to look for Max as I took off up another aisle. "How could he possibly be gone? He is fast but not that fast. I bet that weird dude I saw over in lighting department followed me out here and took him. Oh God. Where is he? Wait, was that a flash of red?"

I looked. "No. It was just the Poinsettias. Why does he have to be wearing red at Christmas time?"

I tunred a corner. "There, another flash of red. Or are my eyes playing tricks?" I ran to the next row. I looked. There was Max running down the row towards me. All smiling and playful.

"Little fucker". I thought. I picked him up, as all my senses came back to me. I gave him a hug and kiss as I scolded him.

I have been in many scarey situation in my life. Car accidents. Fist fights and brawls. Gunfire going over my head. But I have never been as scared as I was for those 90 seconds that Max was gone.

38 comments:

Circus Kelli said...

Gah! I *hate* that feeling! Punkin thought it was funny once to "go missing" in a Meijer store when she was about 2 yrs. old. Scared the hell outta me...

So very glad it all turned out ok, William.

Annie said...

Just wait until Wyatt runs in the opposite direction of Max and they are both gone... So, so glad he's OK.

MetroDad said...

Man, that must have been terrifying, Bill. It's like every parent's worst nightmare. Glad Max was ok.

Effie said...

SOOO glad it was only 90 seconds that you were missing him! That would have been SOOO horrible!

I think I musta done that to my parents a few billion times--I remember thinking it was fun to play in the centre of the clothing racks--where nobody could see me!

GypsyMommy said...

Oh. My. Goodness. My heart was in my throat the entire time I read it. I've been there many times with my Wyatt (just as a warning, I think that name really means Wild boy.)

Kami said...

I had goosebumps for you.

I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS. And when they do that, they are (little fuckers).

Sigh. Damn kids.

Well, since it's Cmas and all, maybe put some bells on his shoes?

Sandy said...

Must.Ground.Him.For.30.Years. Or until he earns enough money to pay for a new heart...because your old one can't work if it's stuck in your throat.

Thank God he's okay.

Lynilu said...

That is always terrifying. I swear my heart has a few scars from those times 35-40 years ago. I'm so glad he was/is safe. Blessings.

Platypus said...

I feel for you, William, they have no idea of the utter terror they can instill in us by disappearing for a few seconds. I'm glad it all worked out. I bet it took a while for your heart rate to return to normal!

cat said...

Hey, that's why I put MY kids on a leash at that age. Take THAT, judgemental parents at Disneyland! That's right, biznitches. Whose the bad parent NOW?

I'm just saying.

(And your running inner monologue had me rolling, William... even though it was scary... because FUNNY?!)

Suzanne said...

aaah! I was in a full sweat and my heart was pounding just reading your post!

Jamie said...

Scary. Could have been worse, though. Could have been like that scene in A Beautiful Mind where people start telling you in comforting tones that you've gone off your meds again and that Max never existed and you're actually an Alaskan salmon trawler named "Lois." Just sayin'.

Queen Bee said...

Scary scary feeling. I put Walmart in lockdown once when my then 5yo decided she should meet me at the car instead of going with her dad. Without telling me or him of course.

stepblog said...

Scary, and very well told. (for a wombat)

eclectic said...

It's a bad thing, that. Glad it turned out happy. Don't know whether to smother them out of love or frustration when you get them back though, do ya?! ;)

lawnwhisperer said...

Your first mistake, you smacked ass, was asking the home depot lady for lawn advice.

susie said...

What is that saying...? When you have children you are allowing your heart to walk around outside of your body.

I wasn't even there and it felt longer than 90 seconds...must have felt like forever.

ewe are here said...

This is my nightmare.

TBG said...

That is the worst feeling in the world! The worst feeling!

Anonymous said...

I lost my dog and went in to a crying panic (we found him). I can not even imagine what it must be like to lose a child.God Bless the parents who are still looking for their missing children.

Circus Kelli said...

Eclectic - It's equal parts of both, me thinks. ;)

Mich said...

Glad he's ok and it was just 90 seconds of sheer terror. This is the very reason that many, many, many parents of multiples choose to use the "leashes" for their kids. Two kids running in different directions with only one parent watching is a recipe for disaster. Good thing Wyatt isn't mobile yet!

Ortizzle said...

Well, thank goodness it didn't last longer than 90 seconds, you would have had a heart attack. (As I was reading it, I was sure he had climbed up a ladder again.)

Phil said...

I've had nightmares like that. Makes you want to put a leash on them! Well, maybe not...

The Kept Woman said...

Man. I was feeling scared FOR you as I read that.

Once my daughter decided to hide in the house and I freaked the hell out thinking she had gotten out. I gave her great big hugs and kisses after I finished whoopin' her ass for scaring the shit out of me.

Julie said...

Kids always manage to do that to us.

Redhead Mommy said...

*That* is the worst feeling in the world. I lost track of Isaac once....it's hard to walk when you feel like your heart has dropped into your shoes.

kalki said...

Man. I knew it would end well and still my heart was in my throat. Also, the cursing is totally hot. (Does that make me weird? Oh well, whatever. I love it.)

Give Max a hug for me.

Roxanne said...

That is the worst. feeling. ever!

I'm glad it was just a mischevious 2 year old wandering away and not something much worse.

Laura said...

When she was about four or five years old, my oldest daughter began to do that on purpose. She'd hide in the racks of clothing in the department stores. Scared the crap out of me, too.
There is no feeling on earth like that one that you described, the fear and then the relief.

sometrouble said...

wow, I can't imagine how scary that would be! Home depot is huge! it takes me a long time to find my missing husband in there.

I used to hide in the center of clothing racks like Effie said, too. :o)

OddMix said...

I. Hate. That!!!

'nuf said.

Jen said...

This is the particular reason that the shopping cart and I are best friends. I would die if one of my two boys wandered away.

Ok..so I've been a lurker..find your blog incredibly funny..I love that even though you are way down in Florida and we are way up here in Winnipeg, Manitoba (yep that's Canada) so may things in life can be the same!
ps..was happy to see you changed your nutrition label! :-)

Toady Joe said...

Hey guess what? You swear as much as *I* do when stressed! LOL

Glad it turned out okay. You've been officially inducted into the Real Parents Hall of Fame now. Crisis averted, all is well. At least now you can say you've got it out of the way.

I, myself, got officially inducted into the Real Critical Care Nurse Hall of Fame yesterday. No longer a poser. Yep, my patient 'coded', I called a Code Blue, and we saved a life. Whew. Glad to mark THAT off my 'to-do list'. Now I never have to have another First Code again. ;)

Same with you, see? You never again have to have a First Lost Child experience. Woot!

kimmyk said...

Man my heart was racing right along with yours.

That is such a scary thing to go through. Been there. Done that.

kimmyk said...

I love that LW called you a smacked ass.

That makes me chuckle.

Mainline Mom said...

Please God, let that NEVER happen to me.

I guess that's partially why Nathan doesn't get to walk around in stores much. He still sits in a cart or stroller anywhere we go, even though his feet are so big I can hardly get them through the seat holes.

Christy said...

OMG I hate it when my daughter does that shit! Scares the hell out of me. She is 28 months now and just the right age for the "lets scare the hell out of mommy) stage in public.

She has a speech disorder and is in therapy to learn to talk so cannot even say her own name yet. I freak out at the thought of her being separated from me in a store somewhere. sheesh.

No wonder I have gray hair(s).