The school fair was in full swing by the time we arrived. Somewhere in the crowd was my Brother, SIL & kids. My nephews had been long awaiting their annual funday. Cooper nearly catapulted out of his stroller at the sight of RIDES! He could barely contain himself. Try explaining to a 2 year old that you have to WAIT in line before you get to spin around on the flying chairs. He was a squealing ball of toddler.
When he finally landed a spot...it was I who became a squealing ball of Mother. Look at him go! My baby! Carnival fodder! Heellloooo!
After the ride I helped Cooper out his highly secure chair (20 cms of flimsy, lightweight chain) and handed him over the barricade to my Brother. I took all of 10 steps back around the enclosure and met with my Brother.....and where was the wee swinger Cooper? My brother shot me a "Uh-Oh" look.....looking around like a bloke who'd just been swindled. Cooper was gone.
The next 10 minutes were a haunting, flurry of mass panic & realisation. Somewhere in the moving, screaming throng was my boy. We looked high & low.
I scanned the crowd.."please...please " I whispered through clenched teeth.."Let me see you"...
We made our way to the Principal who clutched the all important microphone & he repeated the details:
"Attention everyone we have a lost 2 year old."
I've heard similar announcements a thousand times, but never have I described my own child's outfit for all to find.
"He has a grey t-shirt, denim shorts.."
"Nooooo!" I bellowed..."he's wearing long blue cords! And blue gum boots"
The details were corrected & I stood there desperately waiting for someone to stop my heart from exploding. LOOOKK everyone! Please, put down that sausage sandwich & look for blue gumboots!
The thoughts are irrational. Who has him? How much ground has he covered? Oh where is he? Please be safe. Please let me find him.
My mobile phone rang. He was found. The nightmare, brief, but over.
Of course he never even knew he was lost. The only thing missing to Cooper was a flimsy chain, a rickety swinging chair & the wind in his fine, blonde baby hair.