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Losing Christian

23 Feb 2010

One of the biggest fears a lot of parents have is losing a child. One moment they are with you and the next they are gone. Poof! One of my sons was an escape artist and he disappeared not just once, but three times. The first time it happened when we moved, then again in L.A., and the last time when we were leaving a Mariner’s game.

When moving.

When he was 4 years old we moved down the street. It was one of the toughest moves I have ever been a part of. It was just too close and created a lot more physical work. I had a group of friends helping with the move and we were at the old house working late – really late. My wife and the boys were already sleeping. I was surprised when my wife came down and told me that she heard some noises in the other house, where they were sleeping, and when she got up and checked Christian was gone. I ran and checked myself and he was not there… not anywhere. Panic!

The friends that were there starting looking, around the houses, in the neighborhood, we were really freaked out. I called 911, the police came and started asking questions. How old is your son, when was the last time you saw him, has he done this before? I wanted them to stop asking questions and start looking for him, what was the hold up? After what seemed like an eternity one of my friends said they found him, in his old room in the closet. Christian walked out of the front door of the house to where we all were standing looked at me and said “What? I like my old room better.” What a moment.

Korea Town, Los Angeles

We took a quick family trip down to L.A. to go to Disneyland and see some relatives. (I wrote about this trip in:  Breaking the Hypnotic Rhythm of Life) On one of the days we drove into L.A. to visit some of my wife’s family that lives in or near Korea Town, really a not-so-good area. We found the address, and the area was really bad – boarded up buildings, litter, questionable people, etc… but it was the address, so we got out of the car. I looked at my wife and asked her if she was sure this was right, this just does not look right. I walked around to the passenger side of the car and noticed that in order for the boys to get out of the car they had to step over a person sleeping on the sidewalk! Which they did, but did they say anything? Of course not. I am not having a good feeling at all about this.

Just by chance her cousin saw us and recognized Maria from a distance, well I imagine that we did look very out-of-place, and he told us we were at the wrong place and to follow him. Relieved, I tell the boys to get back in the car using the other side. Sebastian starts to walk around the car alone, no Christian. “Where is Christian?” I ask him. “I dunno.” Great, we are out of the car for less than 2 minutes, the only other person we saw even remotely close to us is still sleeping by the rear passenger door and Christian is gone. Poof!

I start calling for him, whistling. Nothing. Panic starts. Then a rock comes flying out of an opening to an abandon building, and then another and then out walks Christian. “What are you doing? Where did you go?” I frantically asked him. His reply, “Do you know there are people lying around inside that building, some are just staring.” What? In my panic, frustration, relief, disbelief I forgot about the guy sleeping on the sidewalk. I told Christian to get in the car, which he did by going over the sleeping guy one more time. When I asked him why he went over the guy sleeping on the sidewalk and did not go around to the other side, he simply asked “What guy?” Ugh!

Mariner’s Game

It was the Boston Red Sox versus the Mariner’s. Beautiful day in August and the entire family were there, including my brother, sister and her family, and my dad. We were all dressed in Mariner’s gear, except for Christian who had a Mariner’s jersey on but was sporting a Boston Red Sox ball cap. This odd combination of apparel would come in very useful.

By this time in his life we knew Christian excelled in escaping, and he had no fear – none. Someone was always with him when we were out, and although I was highly opposed to tying a leash to him the thought had crossed my mind many times. It was a truly awesome game, the first MLB game for my family was a ton of fun… until we were leaving. Something was said to Christian frustrating him and when we were heading out of Safeco Field he escaped.

He wasn’t very big, but he was fast. He was able to squeeze by people, thousands of people! I quickly lost sight of him. My dad kept Sebastian, my brother and I look ahead and Maria went to Security. People noticed the panicked look on my face when they turned to look at who was whistling so loud and they started enquiring. I told them my son is lost in the crowd, I start describing him – short, brown hair, Asian features – basically fitting the same description as a lot of the boys there. But when I said he was wearing a Boston hat with a Mariner’s jersey a lot of people knew exactly who he was. Word traveled fast and Christian’s escape was once again foiled.

For my sanity I did not ask him what he was thinking.

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From → Kids, Parenting

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