The Number No Parent Wants to Dial

“Hey, Grant,” I yell as we tromp into the house, sweaty and thirsty from our walk.


Whose bright idea was it to go walking on a 90-degree day in 90% humidity? Oh, yeah I’ll blame Pokemon Go! for that one. Even though it felt like we were walking on the surface of the sun it was nice to break free from the confines of home.


“I’m going to take a bath,” E yells as he scrambles up the stairs.


“GRANT!” I yell again.


“He’s not here,” yells my husband.
{We yell a lot}


Wait a minute, he was ahead of us by a good block and half. He should be home by now.


Going for a Walk


My heart skips a beat.


“Seriously, Grant are you home?” I yell through the house.




The hubs runs down the stairs throws on a pair of shoes and grabs his bike. “I’ll ride around the block and see if I can find him,”


I head out on foot, thinking maybe he stopped at the park and got distracted. Scanning the crowd of frolicking children, I try to catch a glimpse of red hair, my son’s trademark.




Back at the house, I meet the hubs who is also empty-handed.


“No one has taken him,” I repeat over and over in my head.


I would know. I’m his mom. I would feel something.


He’s just lost.


Although, we’ve walked that way a million times.
Doubts creep into my brain.


“No one has taken him,” I repeat again.
As my husband heads out in the car to scour the neighborhood, I pick up the phone and dial the three numbers I never thought I’d have to dial.  9-1-1.


“911 what’s your emergency?”


“What’s your address?”


“What’s the phone number you are calling from?”


“What was your son wearing?”


“Where were you walking?”


So many freaking questions. It was hard to concentrate and answer them all. For a brief moment, I blanked on my phone number. I don’t call myself how the hell would I remember my number?


What the hell was he wearing?


Shorts, yeah. Gray I think. I can’t remember his shirt.


His shoes though I remember his shoes. His favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shoes that light up when he walks.


His red hair. Make sure they know he has red hair.


My memory was foggy and I was starting to panic.


Right at that moment, I see my husband’s car pull up in front of the house. My eyes quickly go to the backseat, and then I see the red hair and exhale.


“Oh my God, my husband found him. We are good,” I hang up the phone before the operator says goodbye.


When he sees me the tears start to flow, from both of us.


“Where were you,” I ask while wiping tears from my face.


“I … got … lost,” he says between sobs.


“Oh, buddy. Please don’t walk so far ahead next time. Ok?” I say to him.


He nods his little red head, tears damp on his cheeks.


That day could have ended so differently for us. So much worse and so different. Thank goodness it didn’t.

Thank goodness it didn’t.




Sure we tell the kids REPEATEDLY not to talk to tricky people. That if a grown-up asked a child for help it’s not right. Especially if there are other adults around. We tell them to kick, run and scream if someone tries to grab them.


However, I never told them what to do if they were lost.


This is a lesson for all of us.


I should have paid more attention to what he was wearing that day. I should have kept an eye on him and not let him get too far ahead.


Hopefully, you can learn from our missteps so you will never have to dial those three numbers – 9-1-1.

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