Monday, June 02, 2008

The Longest 9 and a half minutes

At the end of our ten minute saga, Oliver came trotting barefoot down the main isle at Target, trailed by two red-shirted employees with amused looks on their faces.

But before that moment, there were the 9.5 moments when I didn't know where Oliver was. There was the ONE SECOND when I looked from the boy next to me to the rack of shoes that I scanned for his size. When I looked back, he was gone. I raced to the end of the isle. I sprinted up and down the rest of the isles of the shoe department calling his name in what I hoped was not an hysterical voice. Then I sprinted back, grabbed Sami and raced for the customer service department where I promptly burst into tears. "Please, help me find my son!" Then, in a rush of words I described Oliver and told them that he had autism and that he can't talk and that he wouldn't respond if they called his name."

I think back to those moments and wonder why I was so extremely upset. Obviously, Oliver had run away. I say this because he's been doing this lately when we go to stores -- especially to Target. I'm aware enough to know that it is his burgeoning desire for independence working against my extremely tight control over him. I give Sami far more freedom than Oliver and I know it is wrong but then again, impulse control is not something that I worry about with Sami. But here we were at Target. I was reasonably sure that he wasn't going to be carried off somewhere, that he wouldn't get hurt and that he would be returned to me. But there are lots of places we could be where I wouldn't be so sure of those same things and so I always keep an eagle eye on him. It is my worst fear.

So Oliver had his little adventure. I learned a valuable lesson. And it all turned out OK. I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time for something like this. I just hope it doesn't happen again any time soon. I don't think my nerves could handle it.


  1. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Oh, Christine, it's frightening. I got chills reading this. Hang in there, sweetie. And give that boy a hug!

  2. Whew. Glad it turned out OK. That is one of my worst fears now that Nik is faster than a jack rabbit! And obsessed with doors.

    I'd have reacted pretty much the same way!

  3. Anonymous11:04 AM

    yikes! so glad it was all okay!

    i know this feeling. it happened a few times with fluffy at the homeschooler's camp. turns out, he was very close by the whole time i was frantically looking and calling for him but i must say, those few minutes were scary!

  4. This is too scary for me to read. My biggest fear. And I know your panic all too well. Sounds so familiar, right down to the bare feet.

  5. (((Hugs))) Christine; I have had a few of these moments.

  6. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Ugh. We have had that happen as well. For a few years M would just run off any chance she could. Once she ran out of our house and hid behind a neighbors car. I was always stressing. Sounds like you handled it well. Hang in there.