Back in April of 2008 when we had the Natty's 1st birthday party, as you can imagine it was a really hectic day. I remember the weather ohmygoodness it POURED off and on that whole entire Sunday of the party. Around 1pm we were getting things together and just about ready for our 1st guests to pop in. At 12:50pm I had, what I like to call, my mini-but-maybe-not-so-mini heart attack. As I left the bathroom with Natalie by my feet so I could put up my hair, I check in the living room to check on James. At his age then, being 2 1/2, I kind of had to do that every few minutes because as parents of toddlers know, quiet = trouble is brewing. I don't see him anywhere in the living room so I walk with Natalie on my hip, closer to the foyer area and wouldn't ya know it...front door wide open. I first thought that Ricky left it open (he left 5 minutes prior to go pick up some family for the party) and "okay okay don't panic James must be in his room"...
..there's no James to be found..and no where in sight throughout the whole house.
At this point my heart really begins to beat fast..huge panic setting in and tears start to sit at the surface of my eyeballs.."okay okay.. he's in the hallway..".. there's no James anywhere there. So, holding Natalie on my hip, I run to the elevator go down to the ground level then back up the stairway to each floor screaming his name. I know I sounded like a mad woman and I didn't give a shit. I wanted my son and I wanted him to be okay.
After checking out the last floor I start bawling..my fresh makeup smearing from tears ..my muscles start twitching in my legs from fear and then feeling like jello..my stomach is flipping like 180 degrees every nanosecond.. and Natalie is cool as a cucumber.
Without that I don't think I would have kept some inkling of focus in my big head.
I head back to the floor we live on, back inside the condo (I purposely left the door open just in case he decided to wander back) I check every room again with a "JAAAAMES WHERE ARE YOUUUU??? and a bit of "Oh MY GOD" mixed in there and something tells me to look out the dining room window and after a second I see James walking by, in the middle of the road, soaked and screaming and crying for me.
That was the saddest.thing.I.have.ever.seen. Well, at least when it comes to my kids..and well, with kids in general.
My big fat butt was able to run faster than it ever has before..quickly leaping into the hallway and through the main doors. I barely even notice our hot neighbor guy holding the door for me ..he even asked if everything was okay and I didn't answer him until a minute later. So, I'm running down the front steps with no shoes on, just socks, running into a patch of soaked grass and grab James.
He too had soaked and muddy socks. And his tiny face was so full of tears and boogers just oozing out. It was my most favorite time seeing next to giving birth to him and seeing him for that first time.
I let our neighbor know everything was fine and he nodded. I do remember saying to him,"this is the day he decides to learn to open doors!!"
And then 1 minute later, the first guests arrived for Natalie's party.
What always had me so emotional about it, aside from the fact that he could have been gone forever, is that I was the only one to be there, as a parent, to experience it. Did I ever want Ricky to fully understand the overwhelming sense of fear like that ..hell yes. But I would never wish that situation to actually happen to him..or James for that matter.
When I told Ricky about it he never really grasped it and I just kind of let it go and thought, "well... let's just hope that this never happens again."
And today... unfortunately, Ricky got to feel how I felt.
I won't go into a long drawn detail, but let's just say James felt it was okay to leave the immediate grassy area in front of our apartment to go inside his new friend's house (who we thought wasn't even home at the time) and we're not exactly on that level of being able to have him go over to this kids' house. We've never even officially met his parents. Gosh that must sound so crazy..but James is 3. Not 4 or 5 like this kid. See, I don't even know exactly how old he is! So, for about a whole minute, Ricky experienced a preview of what I went through on April 20th 2008.
And now, he gets it.
**Editor's note: oh and you best believe this child is grounded until Monday. It was like, "hey James oh my god I love you and you're okay and hey... get in timeout until you're 18."**