… he just turned six and is wearing a bright red sweatshirt.

Dressing your kids every morning doesn’t seem to be a big deal until you have to describe what they were wearing that morning to a police officer because he has gone missing from the school and he is no where to be found.

Friday was the day that I chose to schedule our school year end mommy-Walker movie date.  He had been wanting to see the new movie “Kung Fu Panda”.  It was just released to I figured I would surprise him at school.  I went to his school and went directly to the office where they promptly called his kindergarten teacher to have him sent up.  They told him that mommy was waiting in the office to pick him up. 

After about 15 minutes I said to the secretary that I would just go down and get him.  She said she would just simply call again.  I only heard one side of the conversation but I was a little disturbed to say the least.

I heard, “Oh… really… okay… ummm.”  She then promptly hung up the phone and went the backway out of the office before I could ask where he was.  She apparently went searching for him along the path that he would have walked to the office.  Since I know he knows how to get to the office I was a little disturbed why it was taking so long for them to send him up. 

By now all the other students have been boarded up on the bus and the teachers are on their way to lunch.  Time check – 30 minutes have gone by and the principal comes up to me and says, “Mrs Harrigan, Walker came upstairs about 20 minutes ago and he was seen in the hallway.”  After she says that I started to run down the hallway and backtrack the path he would have gone.  By now they have now put an announcement over the load speaker and every teacher is looking for him.  The hallways, rooms, playground and parking lot.  All were thoroughly searched without a trace of Walker.  I was just about to say we need to call the police when the principal said I am going to call the police.  At least she was on the right track.

I thoroughly described what he was wearing, hair color, eyes and age.  I have to say even for me I stayed calm and well collected.  I called my husband and then remembered that a neighbor was home today due to a sick child.  She lives just a few houses away.  I called her and asked, “I need you to do me a favor…..”  Keep in mind the pause was long as I started to break down in tears that my child was now officially missing. “I need you to look outside and see if you see Walker.”  Ironically enough she remembered he was wearing his bright red sweatshirt.  I hear her yell to her son, “Stay here and don’t move.”  I can tell that she was running with the phone in her hand.  She exclaimed, “I see him, he is in the front yard.”

Walker walked home from school and was waiting for me by the front steps.  I got in my Explorer and tore out of the parking lot of the school, ran the stop sign and there in front of my house was my neighbor holding onto Walker with two police offiicers waiting for me.

The police officer asked Walker his address and phone number and he was able to tell him with no trouble.  So needless to say as much as I wanted to hug him and punish him all at the same time, I needed to scare him into not walking home again.  I didn’t want to punish him as he in did something wrong.  I wanted to scare him into realizing that he did something scary.  He was not trying to be sneaky by any means.  He was not trying to be mischievous.  FYI – we don’t live very far from the school but he did need to cross a busy street.

I asked Walker, “What were you thinking?  Why did you walk home?  Why didn’t you come to the office? And finally… did you look both ways before you crossed the street?”

His Answers:

I don’t know.

I knew how to get home without a map.

I didn’t know what the teacher wanted me to do and they told me you were waiting so I walked home.

Yes I looked both ways.  I waited for the two fire engines to go by and the ambulance then I crossed.

So the good news is Walker knows his way home from school.  The bad news is he knows his way home from school and has no fear of walking home alone.

Keep in mind we have never allowed him to walk alone like that anywhere… not even a neighbors so it is beyond our comprehension why he thought it was okay.  He was punished a little but more importantly I need to scare him into not wanting to do anything like that again.

After I picked him up at home we went back to the school so we could retrace axactly what he did and which door he used.  The secretary gave him a stern talking to and his teacher gave him a big hug.

Today was the day that Walker gave us a reality check on how easily children can be lost.  There are alot of creepy people out there and I would be scared that one of them just might pick him up and we would never see him again.  I now know what my child knows, understands and what he is capable of doing.

I eventually did go back to the police station to obtain a copy of the police report.  I called the office and woman on the other end said that she had it there.  I informed her that it may be a little weird but I scrapbook and I wanted a copy for that.  I then asked how much for the copy.  She laughed and replied… “For you… it’s free”.

 

11 thoughts on “… he just turned six and is wearing a bright red sweatshirt.

  1. Well, I’m obviously crazy-relieved that this turned out OK. But sweet JEBUS, my heart is racing and I have tears in my eyes. And I know that’s not even CLOSE to how you must have felt.God Sarah. Good that he knows his way home, but bad too. Oh man.

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  2. Needless to say it took a few martini’s and the rest of the weekend to get my fingernails declawed from the ceiling. Even my brother said, "Geez Walker, even I didn’t get involved with the police at that age".

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  3. They will make your heart literally stop when you least expect it, won’t they? I know well that feeling of fear of what could have been … as well you know. So glad he’s okay of course, but it makes me wonder (yet again) how one goes about balancing a healthy concern for safety against an overwhelming fear of the big bad world….(((((Sarah))))You must have been scared sh**less, woman. Just how many martinis was that, anyway?

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  4. Michelle… I stopped counting the martini’s. You know that you can’t protect them forever but geez… let me do it for a few more years. He had everyone scared to death. Part of the problem is Walker (to some extent) doesn’t understand what the big deal is. As he said he knew his way home without a map.

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  5. OMG – Sarah, I am SO glad he is safe and sound!I get sick to my stomach just thinking about how it could have ended… UGH!{{{{{Sarah}}}}}

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  6. It was scary Skip. Regardless I am still a strong believer in letting go just enough they can grow and holding on just enough they know you are still there. Sometimes a hard balance to find.

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