Today was an absolute nightmare.
On Thursdays we attend a Music Together class in a little strip mall in Sandy. It's got a huge parking lot and lots of stores, including a RiteAid, a Ream's (grocery store), a gas station, a Carl's Jr with a drive-thru, and a yarn store and pet store. After music class is over, we usually go to the pet store to see the puppies, and sometimes to the yarn store because they have a little play area in back with toys so I can shop while Sparrow plays.
Today I was helping Tiffany, our music teacher, clean up and Sparrow took off out the door. I found him in the pet store, playing with their vacuum. The pet store is next door to music class, so it wasn't too bad, but I still put him in time out and told him NOT to do that again and how bad it was that he ran away blah blah blah. Then we went back over to the pet store and were in the back looking at puppies with our friends. I was holding a baby bunny and handed it over to my friend and then Sparrow was gone.
I looked all over the pet store for him and he wasn't there. He wasn't playing with the vacuum or in the fish area. He. Was. Gone. I walked outside and called for him. One of the other families in our music class saw me and came over to see if they could help. I ran up and down the parking lot, looking in between cars, looking under cars, yelling "SPARROW!" I called Hawk and asked him what to do. My friends were in some of the stores asking if anyone had seen the little two year old boy with blond hair in a gray shirt. I mean this kid was GONE.
I ran all the way down to the yarn store, wondering if he went over there (it's a long ways away, but I thought maybe he remembered where it was.) When I asked the owners if they had seen him and they said no, that is when I lost it. I started to cry and called Hawk and told him to call the police. There were about 10 people searching for him, some were driving around the parking lot, some were walking around. I was terrified that he had been hit by a car, or that he had wandered into the busy busy street. I went over to our car to see if he had gotten inside. As I shut the door and started going back over to the grocery store, a man in a gold car drove around the grocery store and had Sparrow in the driver's seat with him.
I just have no words for that moment.
Apparently Sparrow had gone out the back door of the pet store, and was standing in the back of the strip mall by the dumpster. The gentleman found him and he got right in the car and was having a great time "driving." The man who found him was like "he is so sweet and so cute." I was struggling with wanting to squeeze him and give him cookies forever or wanting to kill him. I couldn't kill him because there were witnesses. I called Hawk and told him to tell the police not to come.
If I ever wondered how I felt about my child, if I ever questioned how much I love him and how much I want him to be safe - those questions and doubts were resolved in the twenty-odd minutes he was lost today.
The worst part is, he has no idea. He has no. clue. what could have happened. He doesn't know he could have been killed or taken and sold into sex slavery. I mean, he has NO idea! Someone could come up to him in 2 minutes and say "hey, want to ride in my car?" and he'd go with them without even blinking. This kid! He's so cute... but I keep telling myself that if anyone ever kidnapped him they would bring him back because he's such a brat.
I am still coming down off my adrenaline rush, but what a terrifying day. My child is going to wear a leash until he is 25. Not even kidding.
(And then on top of that, when we went back to the yarn store to tell them we had found him, he ran into the back of the store and stole a croissant off their break room table. Then when I was driving us home, someone was backing out and not watching and came within an inch of hitting us. Then a pigeon tried to fly into our windshield. I tell you what - I am duct taping Sparrow to the wall and I am never leaving our house again. Ever.)