For a moment this week I lost my child.
It was probably only fifteen or twenty minutes in total but it felt like centuries while my body and mind raced frantically to find him. Somehow while I was on the phone to his dad about garden supplies he disappeared out the front door and off after one of our housemate's dogs. When I got off the phone I heard silence - that familiar prompt you get as a parent to inspect what your child is up to and what it occupying them so intently! He's never opened the front door before so it didn't occur to me that's where he could have gone - I wasted time looking around the large house and the backyard. Then when I noticed one of the dogs was gone too I thought, oh no, he's probably trying to take him for a walk...
I ran out onto an empty street - nearby a neighbour was fixing his bicycle. Have you seen a toddler and a dog I asked (the question choked in my throat). He wasn't sure... but he'd help me look for him and immediately rode off on his bike to look. Around the corner ran the dog and a joggler who asked if he was mine - she'd seen him wandering stray up the road. And a child I asked? My two year old was with him? She asked what he was wearing and jogged off to look. The dog was loose and likely to run off again so I carried him back to the house. I grabbed my key and left. I ran up the road after the jogger while countless cars drove past - it's such a busy road I thought, he'd never venture across it, surely? He's usually so cautious near passing cars... I prayed and ran, out of breath. And there he was - being held by a lady in her garden - the jogger beside her. He was sobbing. The dog had wandered into the garden, my boy following - the kindly owner of the house noticed, scooped him up and rang the police. I've never been so glad, so so thankful...
On the walk home, I held my still crying boy tight, it's alright my love, you're okay now... we found the dog, he's at home, oh Reu you're only wearing socks, and they're wet through...
There are countless moments as a parent you miss the detail - of a wobbly chair they might try to stand up on, or not deadlocking a front door (because you don't think they'd ever open it) and you feel defeated, a failure... I know there will be other moments of terror in this journey as a mother to my children - moments I can't control or prevent or even prepare for.. that is a sobering reality but not something to stop us living a full and spontaneous existence.
That and I am reminded
of the kindness of strangers,
of the newness of each day -
of how we can choose to embrace
a present, connected life -
of my trust in Him who found me first,
loves me best, my child too.