A parent’s worst nightmare. And today, I believed it had happened to me.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“Oh God! I can’t find my son. I can’t find him. He’s with another little boy. ASHER!!!”
“Okay, mam. It’s okay. Where are you?”
“I’m in Cozad. They were playing. Oh, please God. They were playing in the back yard and they’re gone. They’re gone! ASHER!!!”
“Okay. It’s okay. We’re going to help. Can you tell me your address?”
“Oh, God. I should have checked on them more. I’m not home. I’m driving around trying to…”
“It’s okay. I’m getting the police…”
“ASHER!!! WHERE ARE….OH GOD! I FOUND THEM!!! ASHER!!! I FOUND THEM!!! I’m sorry!
“Oh thank God. Okay. It’s okay mam. It’s okay. I’m so glad…”
“ASHER!!! Oh thank God!!! You get your ass in this car right now! You scared…”
I shifted my car and jumped out so fast that my van kept moving backward. Reverse. Not park. Try again. I jumped back in my moving vehicle and shifted up one more. Car stopped. I ran as fast as I could to my little boy and his friend, screaming every curse word that came to my mind, screaming at these beautiful boys covered in ditch water (where they had decided to escape for play time) that they scared us to death.
Truth be told. I did not handle today well.
Yes, we had a happy ending today. Yes, they are okay. But those 15 minutes of running around, driving around, and screaming at the top of our lungs for our six-year-old were undoubtedly the longest of my life.
I didn’t protect him. I should have checked on him more. I should have…
Every part of me truly believed someone had taken him, someone had harmed the innocent hairs on his head. Someone had my son.
The ditch. Am I looking for a body? What if he slipped and hit his head… He’s so little. We’ve talked about strangers. But would he do it? Would he get in a car with someone?
I tried to pray, but I believed so hard that someone had taken him, all I wanted to do was hurt whomever had him.
I’ll kill them. If someone hurts my baby. I’ll do it.
I can’t even believe my mind was capable of thinking this way. For 31 years of life, I have said I will act one way, I will do one thing, I will say these words, all if I were to experience what they experienced. I won’t judge someone. I could never hurt someone. I could never want another person to suffer no matter what they did.
And today, I learned the true reality of the terror of losing a child. I learned I had no control. I learned what my mind is capable, or incapable, of.
The panic overtook everything in my body. I did not think clearly. I had never had so much energy in my life. It has now been over two hours since our terrifying 15 minutes, and I still can’t calm down. But what is baffling is I can’t believe what my brain thought, what my conversation with the 911 operator consisted of, and especially what I honestly believed to be true. I thought nothing good. Everything in my brain told me the worst case scenario. And now, I sit here trying to process it all.
The fear took over every logical thought in my mind. It dominated my thinking, my prayers, even my words. I was the crazy woman who the 911 operator couldn’t understand. I was the mother who believed I had lost my son.
So now I sit here and wonder, could I forgive someone who may hurt my child? Could I be the Christian I claim to be. Could I put my fears completely on God? Could I find good in losing my child? In that moment when I believed Asher was gone, I failed miserably.
I do not know if my mind is capable of forgiving someone who would hurt my child. I do not know how my world would keep turning if I lost my child. I do not know how I would react if I ever lose my child. I do not know…
None of us know. We do not know how we would feel, how we would react, what we would do, until we experience it ourselves. And even then, it’s not the same. I learned a terrifying lesson today. It was not a wanted lesson, but I understand why it happened. I needed to be humbled again. I needed to realize I am not strong enough without my God, without support.
Most importantly, I am not in control, even of my children’s destiny.
What many of us do have in common is our faith and the fact that many of us are parents. So now I know, all I can do is pray. I can pray for my ability to be a good mother, and to behave and act with grace using His truth. I can pray God will take my parenting anxieties. I can pray God will protect my boys and give me the strength to be everything they need.
So after my lesson today…
I pray for the strength to look to You, to look to the good before ever choosing to first believe the evil. Today, I failed at this, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t give you my fears immediately. I pray I have learned my lesson. I pray I can truly forgive as I say I will. I pray I will not judge another or believe I would know how I would react in any situation. I especially pray for your protection over my children. I pray for the opportunity for my children to outlive me. I pray for those whom have lost children, please give them peace, strength, and grace. Please surround them with people who will love them and fill them with Your truth. Please give us all the strength and peace to think of You first.
I’m not strong enough to be a parent without You. And today, I let my parenting fears overtake me.
In Jesus’ Name.