Today, we did our normal Saturday grocery shopping. We go the same route through the store every single time. We hit produce first and then the bakery. Pokemon Boy wanted to hit the bakery first - to get his bagel. I told him we'd get there soon enough and to just hold on.
As I turned around from putting my fruit trays into the cart, I couldn't see Pokemon Boy. But I figured he was just around the bend near the bananas - our next stop. I turn the corner and no Pokemon Boy. So I said to Lil'Bro (sitting in the cart with me), "Man, he is in some SERIOUS trouble." I assumed Pokemon Boy had gone on ahead to the bakery section. I could see it but not clearly enough to tell if he was over there. So for that one sinking moment, I thought, ok, I can't see my kid. This sucks! I called out his name pretty loud. Loud enough that a few people looked my way. No answer.
I poked my head back around where I just was. No Pokemon Boy. I look back around near the bananas and start heading to the bakery. I call out again. Nothing. But then I see a big store employee walking with his hand on Pokemon Boy's shoulder - they were heading to the front of the store. So I yelled his name even louder. He turned and saw me and looked SO relieved!
He let me hug him and started sobbing "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" over and over. I guess he had just kept walking our circuit without stopping. When he turned around, he didn't see me and I guess started to panic. BUT, he had the sense to stay calm enough to find a mom and ask for help (I've always told him to ask a woman - especially a mom - for help because they will usually stick with the story until the end). She had brought him to the closest store employee who was walking him to the front where we all met. PHEW!
The woman walked up as we were hugging and he was crying and kind of filled me in. I mean, this happened in less than 3 minutes. He was with me by the fruit trays. And I turned away long enough to grab the 3 trays I need for church. I turned back and he was gone. Guh! I do have to say I hadn't reached panic mode yet. I was still operating on the assumption he had gone ahead to get his bagel. When I told him that, he looked at me so earnestly and said, "I would never do that, mom!" I felt like such an idiot.
I'm sure Lil'Bro was sitting there wondering what punishment I'd dole out. Pokemon Boy asked if he was in trouble. So we had a nice little talk about why I always ask him to stay right there with me. I also reassured him, "I will never leave this store without one of you. Do you understand that? If you get lost, I will not leave without you." I also told him that this scare was punishment enough for him. So nothing was off limits. I can tell you, that kid stuck to me and the cart like GLUE for the rest of our shopping stint.
You know, I think (very briefly) about how this story could have turned out. And man, I am so glad God protects me and my boys. It's the kind of story that, in hind sight, it makes my stomach turn.
Thank you God. Thank you for letting me be mom to these beautiful boys. Thank you for keeping them safe in this big huge world.