What Color Shirt Was He Wearing?

The scariest moments of my life happened tonight.

On a Monday in November.

A normal day. A dark night. Not too cold.

Sawyer left the house to play at 4:17 pm.

I didn’t pay attention to what he was wearing because I was unloading the dishwasher and feeding the baby.

We had just finished an argument about Pokémon cards. I told him he couldn’t take them out of this house. He disagreed. I yelled. He yelled back.

So honestly, I breathed a sigh when he left. Silence. It had been a day I tell you.

In the chaos I forgot to tell him to put on his Gizmo. My fault. I should have reminded him. I’m the mom.

I did ask him where he was going though. More like I yelled it as the door slammed. He was off to run and jump and throw and play. But he told me. I knew where he was going. Just across the street.

An hour and a half later, dinner was ready. Time for him to come home.

A text was sent. Except he wasn’t there. More texts were sent. No sign of him. We called around. We posted on the neighborhood Facebook page.

Jamie drove around. He found a flashlight. Neighbors gathered. Kids and parents went door to door. My sister-in-law came to watch the other boys. I started searching. On foot.

I thought of the pond behind our house. I though of every ditch in our neighborhood. I thought of strangers and bad people and Jacob Wetterling. I thought of him in the back of someone’s car scared. I thought of how much I love him.

I called 911 to report a child missing. It was time. I had never called that number before. It felt so real.

I said I was probably overreacting but I didn’t know what else to do. She asked his height, his hair color and his eye color.

She asked if he had Autism. I said no. Not him. Not Sawyer.

She asked what he was wearing. I said I didn’t know. The tears came. Which felt weird.

I am the calm one. Unshakable. But I didn’t know what he was wearing.

I called my friend who is a police officer after. I said it was my fault. I lost Sawyer. He said he was on his way to my house. And that they were already looking.

People were everywhere. A whole entire neighborhood. The police were here within minutes.

And then the text came. Sawyer was safe. Playing in a friend’s basement. He had no idea he was missing. He was home in seconds. Just a few feet away the whole entire time.

I couldn’t even laugh. I couldn’t speak really.

The police greeted him. One even climbed in the back of our truck with him to wipe some tears.

He thought he was in trouble. He was scared of going to jail. He was where he said he was going to be. He was confused.

I have never felt such relief. He was safe.

Police officers are amazing. Neighbors are amazing. I’ve never been so thankful.

And it was a red sweatshirt by the way. I will never not know what my child is wearing. Not ever.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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