Saturday, February 13, 2010

Code Adam!

I lost (and found) Johnny in the grocery store today.  It was awful.

We were in aisle 7 and we had been having a great time, just the two of us.  Johnny said that he had to go to the bathroom.  He begged to go alone (like big bro' GJ does) and I agreed even though it made me a little queasy to think about having him out of my sight.  I could tell how badly he wanted to feel grown up and independent and I didn't want to be over-protective.  I told him to meet me in aisle 8 or 9 when he was done and I just stood at the end cap between the two aisles with my sights on the restroom door the whole time.  Five minutes went by, or at least it felt like five, and I couldn't stand to wait anymore.   I left my cart and headed to the Men's room.  Another boy was leaving so I asked him if there was a little boy in there with short dark hair.  He said, "Nope."  Nope?  I opened the door a crack and called Johnny's name.  No answer.  I went in (to the Men's room).  No Johnny. 

I could have combed the store at this point.  I knew logically that Johnny and I had missed each other somehow and that he was wandering the aisles looking for me, but my imagination already had the best of me so I went to the service desk and said, in a loud but deceptively calm voice, "I lost my son."

I was shocked and impressed by what happened next.  The Store Manager picked up the intercom and instantly announced "Code Adam" over the loud speaker.  I am not exaggerating when I say that 8 Shaw's Grocery employees ran to the two store exits and stood, feet apart and arms akimbo blocking the exits.  Then they asked me to describe Johnny and they made a second announcement over the loudspeaker with his description.  At this point, I was FREAKING out.  It was a Code Adam for crying out loud!!!  Every parent knows who Adam was and his famous father who now hosts America's Most Wanted.

Customers and sales associates were all staring at me with sympathetic eyes as I stood there between the exits where everyone is checking out and bagging groceries.  I was trying to keep it together, as my eyes searched frantically for a glimpse of Johnny.  It felt like hours.  I was hot, sweaty, and shaking when I finally saw him at the far end of aisle 5.  A man with a green Shaw's shirt had one hand behind my small-looking Johnny's back, escorting him to his Mommy.  We ran to each other like in one of those romance movies (sort of).  My arms were outstretched; his head was down and his fingers were in his mouth.  He got closer and I saw that he was red-faced and crying.  We hugged and cried (with the whole store watching, I later realized). 

We promised never to separate in a store again and then we bolted to the paper goods aisle where I opened a box of Kleenex so we could both wipe our tears and runny noses and finish shopping.  Johnny forgot the trauma immediately.  I didn't even have the open Kleenex box in the cart before he spied some cheap toy and asked me to buy it.  I, on the other hand, remained shaky for another 30 minutes.  We were celebrities for the rest of our time in the store.  In every aisle, someone would recognize the five year old boy with black hair in a navy blue hoodie and tell us how glad they were that we found each other. 

No one was happier than I was. 



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  2. Wow. This is my worst fear when out with Owen. He is very skittish so thankfully, he barely leaves my side. Not such a great quality when I am trying to get something done. I am glad all is well. I am really enjoying reading the posts. Say hi to Deano for me.
    FYI-I work as an NP in neurosurgery at PENN. If you guys move down this way please let me know. I get down to DC alot visiting friends.