I have to write this down so I will never forget how precious our children are, and how they can be gone in the blink of an eye.
We were shopping at the Crossroads Mall in St Cloud today, its a very confusing design, at least for me it is. We had only gone into a couple of different stores when Joseph decided he had to use the bathroom, of course. Its a pet peave of mine, they always wait until we get into a store that of course has no bathroom, then decide they have to go NOW!! So I took him out into the mall and we started to look for a bathroom. As we were frantically looking for a bathroom for J, a little blonde boy went running by, darting around people, running in and out of stores, he lept running faster and faster. Joseph is frantically looking for a sign to point the way to a restroom, but there was something about that little boy. I knew something wasn't right. I knew he was lost, and just wasn't admitting it to himself. I grabbed Dennis and the other kids, sent Joseph with Alexis to the bathroom( it ended up being 2 stores down from the store we had been shopping in). Dennis took 3 of the kids to look for the little boy, while I stayed within sight of the bathrooms, yet at the crossroads of 2 different corridors. All of a sudden he darted out of a store behind D and took off running right for me, by this time he new he was lost, but didn't know what to do about it.
I caught ahold of him and told him that I would help him find his mommy. His name was Ian. He was 5 years old and "almost in kindergarten". He was supposed to be playing in the park area with his brother and sister, but decided he wanted to go find his mommy instead. I went to the nearest store and asked them to call mall security, a little boy was lost, and couldn't find his mommy. All I could think of as I was holding this little boy, was that his mommy must be frantically looking for him.
Mall security arrived, asked for a description of his mommy, and asked him a few other questions. His last name? "I don't have a last name." how old is his brother? "I don't know, he's bigger than me." Thru all of these questions, I'm wondering why his mom hasn't contacted mall security looking for HIM. Don't they even know he's missing? Sad to say, his mom had no clue her little boy was sitting in the lap of a stranger. She didn't have any idea that her little boy could have been "helped" by someone who didn't have good intentions.
It was just by happen chance that she walked up to us and recognized her little boy sitting in my lap. I don't know if she would have even glanced at him if it weren't for the security guards around us. I don't believe she ever did realize the seriousness of the situation. All she did was ask him were his brother and sister were. Grabbed him by the hand and walked away.
I was almost in tears just holding this precious little boy. He had the sweetest little gravelly voice, and this pure white hair. He was trying to be so brave and trust us that we would be able to find his mommy. She should have been the one trying to find her little boy.
As I was using the restroom at a restaraunt today, this tiny little girl walked in, she must have been 3, maybe 4 years old, she was singing quietly to herself, had the sweetest little smile, and she was all by herself. As she walked out a lady walked in, she told me that my little girl had gone out by herself, "she's not my little girl", I said. She looked sad as she washed her hands, "people just don't cherish their children as they should", she told me. I have to agree. It would have been so easy for anyone to take that little girls hand and walk out the exit door, it was right next to the restrooms. And anybody could have "helped" little Ian right outside into their car and out of his parents lives.
So those of you who are parents out there, and are reading this, please, hold your child's hand when you are out shopping, take the time to bring your little girl to the restroom, hold them tight. For me. Our children are too precious.