I have to come to realize why Thanksgiving may be my new favorite holiday. And NO, it has NEVER been in the past. I will honestly admit: I hate turkey. I will admit: I HATE cranberry sauce. I also used to HATE it because it meant having to make every extended family member happy and if there wasn't equal time spent with whoever then it meant complete stress...to the point of never wanting to celebrate (if that was even what you'd call it) another holiday again. Just unbearable. At the dinner table (once we actually made it there ALL together and ALIVE ~I will devulge in a moment), my dad expressed something that was said in his office earlier that week. "He said his favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it means that there's no stress of getting gifts, no money issues, no commercialism...just the pure enjoyment of friend's and family's presence." It stopped me in that moment while I looked around the table at my 4 beautiful children and my husband sitting next to me, my brother making a joke at the end of the table and my parents joy-filled faces, WOW...that is so true. There's nothing to commercialize. The only thing thats really on tv is trying to get someone to buy a turkey...which is dumb. Thanksgiving usually means the onslaught of continuous Christmas commercials and society parading Christmas gifts like getting a 75" tv is going to mean all your dreams come true...its disgusting really. It's offensive. 'Be a good parent, get your kid everything they want...' because we don't have enough self centered children out there anyway. I will refrain from saying exactly what I think about all that...but it makes me sick.
SO back to Thanksgiving. Let me tell you why I was thankful...
This year we chose to have it at my parents house. They live in a very nice, up-scale neighborhood west of Denver. There are young families all over and its not uncommon to see kids riding alone or playing all over the streets and small parks sprinkled throughout. The only thing that is a concern of mine is that its not that far from a few MAJOR roads. We got to my parents' house around noon and I began cooking right away because I had several things that needed to be baked and that meant I'm on the clear other side of the house and not really around windows to watch where my kids are playing. Since my parents have lived here for more than 10 years, we know the neighbors and all their kids and my kids know that they aren't allowed to leave the culdesac area. I remember looking out the window and seeing Duncan race off on his bike and thinking, 'I hope he watches out for any cars.' About 2 hrs later I heard my mom tell the girls to go get Duncan so we can eat...and I heard "we haven't seen Duncan." While this isn't uncommon to hear...this time it sent a surge through me...something was wrong. He hadn't been in to get water or a snack and he hasn't eaten since breakfast because we eat in the middle of the day for Thanksgiving...then I heard Rob get up and get the keys.
OH CRAP. I grabbed the multi-colored handtowel to wipe off my hands and I ran outside to the front yard...I watched my dad go to the neighbors across the park and I saw my brother take off on his bike and heard Rob speed off in our car...PANIC SET IN. WHERE IS DUNCAN...so I ran to all the neighbors that I knew had boys Duncan's age...the worst words ever uttered fell from my mouth in sheer terror, "HAVE YOU SEEN MY SON!?" Oh my dear God...I'm unable to hold back the tears now and I'm running down the street, screaming for my son. A mom leaving their home saw me and came to screeching halt in their SUV, "Are you okay!? Whats going on?" "Its my son, Duncan, have you seen him?" She had not and nor had her older son, but they had joined forces with us and sped off to drive down streets, looking for a little 6yr old boy with black glasses, a green shirt in jeans, riding a red bike. Where could he have gone? Surely he can hear my shrill voice SCREAMING his name...?! (everyone else can, otherwise they wouldn't be coming out of their homes...right?) My parents live kind of in the middle of the development...but I SPRINTED, in my 4 inch knee-high boots to a park probably a 1/4 mile away. I saw a large group of people and began screaming at them, begging them to say that they had seen my son. Apparently, this group had some South African's visiting because the one guy kept telling me to calm down. I almost punched him in the throat. A woman with a cell phone ran up to me and told me to talk to 911...I completely lost it at that point. I think I was hyperventilating because I was light headed, out of breath, and could barely talk. There were so many thoughts running through my head. Where was he? Was he taken? Was he safe? Was he hurt? Who would do this on Thanksgiving? What kind of sicko has my child? Will I ever see him again? What will happen to my son? OH MY GOD...I'm married to a cop...I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO CHILDREN THAT ARE ABDUCTED!?!?!? Why hasn't anyone seen him!? PLEASE GOD, NOT MY BABY!!!
The dispatch was PHENOMENAL. She kept asking me questions...the same questions I think, because it kept me thinking past my own horrific fears and on the facts of the present. What was he wearing? What does he look like? Does he have any allergies? Where do I think he may have gone? Don't worry, 6 officers are on their way to you right now. It was horrifying because I honestly had not seen my son in 2 hours...what kind of a parent can say that?! I always know where my kids are and I'm basically an overbearing parent at times because I'm anal about knowing who they are with and where they are...yikes, now my children are screwed because I'm completely paranoid after 20minutes! LOL My husband saw me off one of the main roads and stopped in the middle of the busy road to run to where I was and thats when I realized how scared HE WAS...that intensified my hysteria. My husband does NOT show emotion really...never in public. His sunglasses were down and he was wiping his face...and then I hear dispatch tell me to breathe also and thats when my brother rode up on his bike, "Robyn!!!! DAD FOUND HIM!!" "OH MY GOD, ARE YOU SURE!??!?!?!" "YES~ I WATCHED HIM LOAD UP THE BIKE!" I'm not sure if I said anything except, "HE WAS FOUND! Oh my God, my dad found him!!!!" And I remember handing or throwing or maybe even tossing the cell phone to someone and running out into traffic to my own car. (To the woman who called 911 for me, THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for not telling me to calm down, but rubbing a complete stranger's back and arm and trying to show some sort of comfort in a situation such as this. Thank you for being apart of my nightmare, understanding that a hysterical mother doesn't need to be told to calm down, rather standing with me as I pace and sob that my child is missing and I can't do anything about it. If you ever see this: I will not forget your kindness and I pray that God blesses you richly.) Rob grabbed my shirt to hold me back from getting hit...and as we jumped into the car I shook with sobs of relief and gratitude that God had spared my son from a lifetime of hell or a certain death. My husband held me and we sobbed together that we would see our son, safely, in just moments.
I didn't even wait for the car to stop, I just dove out of the car as we pulled up in the driveway. I ran through the front door to see my son, looking rather pathetic and terrified that he was about to receive the largest spanken of his life! I went to my knees before him, grabbed him and held on. I couldn't even say words because I was sobbing. I just know that he heard, "DON'T YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN. YOU SCARED MOMMY TOO DEATH. DON'T YOU EVER DO THIS AGAIN." My parents had to leave the room because well...my mom can't handle seeing anyone bawl and when Rob started to cry...it left the room a complete puddle. A spanken wasn't even necessary because the sheer magnitude of the realization of his actions had enough of an impact on Duncan. And hearing that his bike was going to be put up until he earned trust back...thats a huge chore there.
Now you can understand why this year 'Thanksgiving' had new meaning...I think so often we forget to stop and thank God for the blessings we have. Especially our children. As a stay at home and homeschooling mom, I'm with my children CONSTANTLY...and there are times that I beg God for a short break from my kids. But this was literally the WORST feeling in the world. DISASTER. I pray for mothers and fathers who don't get the reunion they beg for with their lost children. It definitely changes ones perspective after a situation like this...and it will be something I will be thankful for because it reminds me that every day is a gift.