I never have “lost” my child. When my son was about 2 and a half years old, I started asking him to help me find the way back to our car in the parking lot. And when we went on a walk around the block, he would lead the way to find our home. As soon as he started learning numbers I taught him our phone number. I taught him about traffic lights and “green means go”. I taught him to never get in the car with a stranger. I started to teach him all of these things at a very young age and showed him he could do it on his own if he ever had to. I feel I was spending a great deal of time teaching my young son about life. Explaining things. Asking him questions in such a way that I knew he was learning. I mean, why wouldn’t I? I’m the mom. Nonetheless, as I said, I’ve never lost my child. Yet, when my son was between the ages of about 4 to 6 years old, his father “lost” him on 3 different occasions. How do I know this? My son told me. The 1st time lost – on the beach and the life guard found him and drove him in his truck till they found his father. The 2nd time – camping for the weekend and someone on the grounds found my son and my son got in a truck with a man and a woman and they drove him till they found his father. The 3rd – when he was at his dad’s for the weekend and my son was invited to spend the night at his friend’s house and his dad allowed him to go. Turns out the two young boys were playing in front of the house (where my son had never been before) and the boys got separated and my son then walked down the street, alone, went up to some random house and knocked on the front door and told the person who lived there that he was lost. My son had memorized his father’s phone number as well and he called his dad from the stranger’s house. I know for a fact that my son has some kind of gigantic arch angel that has been flying above his head protecting him since the day he was born. Not only that, but what I really and truly also believe in my heart is that even at that young age when my son found himself suddenly alone, that he knew in his heart that he would find his way, because that’s what I had always told him. Time and time again I told him to trust his heart and thoughts. I believe in the power of positive thoughts and a positive attitude. I always took the time to explain things to my son. The “how” and “why” of it. Being a parent is not an easy job. Heck, just the lack of sleep is enough to make any one a little forgetful. Today, I am sure my son would say I talked a lot. Too often as a child I felt ignored and neglected. So, I over compensated with my child. And I talked to my son about that too! One thing that I know is helpful, my son has never seen me be drunk. I was raised in a home with both parents drinking and after my mother moved out, I lived the next 4 years watching my brother be a practicing drug addict. He offered me his drugs from time to time but I always said no. My mother was not even in my home any more. She does not know the dept of the disease that I lived with while I was 12 to 18 years old. It is not good for children of any age to see their parents drunk or their big brother on drugs. And with the disease of alcoholism, even “not drinking” can be difficult because the craving can be so horrible to live with and it takes time to learn how to do life sober. Recovery from the family disease of alcoholism takes a long time. Unfortunately, some parents do need to be reminded to not leave their children unattended – because some people get well more quickly than other people. Today, my son does call me and talk to me about things in his life and my response is, “Son, am I listening or do you want my opinion?” Just about very time his reply is, “Oh you’re just listening Mom!”
I am blessed, thankful and grateful.