9.22.2012

Seven minutes.

Seven minutes- the amount of time that my son was missing in the mall late Thursday night.

We went there after work.  A shoe store caught my eye, so Chad said to go ahead and he'd venture over to the play area with the boys.  I quickly found a pair of shoes that I wanted, however the store was having a buy one, get one 50% off sale.  So there I was, trying to find a shoe worthy of tempting me.  I found a pair that I liked, but thought I'd ask Chad if there were shoes he was wanting before I went ahead with the purchase.  I called him and we were talking about the shoes and how much fun Liam was having.  Then a few minutes into out conversation Chad abruptly interrupted me.

"Just a minute Michelle.  I don't see Liam, " Chad said.

"Oh!  I'll let you go," I quickly replied, assuming he'd soon find him hiding behind a slide or in a tunnel.

We hung up and I continued to deliberate over my shoe choices.  Three minutes passed.  I get another call from Chad.

"Michelle, I can't find Liam anywhere!  Come help me!"

I panicked, threw down my shoe boxes, mumbled a quick apology to the customer service explaining I had a missing child, and bolted out the door.

Fears of becoming one of those mothers that has a child kidnapped ran through my mind.  I scanned the corridors for Liam and any shady looking individuals as I silently and urgently prayed in my mind.

I made my way towards the area where Chad was.  It was late, so things were beginning to close down.  I turned the corner and saw two girls sitting at a proactiv kiosk that was closing.  With panic in my voice and on my face I got out, "If you see a little boy in Cars pajamas with someone that doesn't look like his daddy, please stop them!"

One of the girls then replied that her mom was head of security at the mall and that she could call her right then.  She placed the call and it was within a few minutes that I was reunited with Liam...in front of the helicopter kiosk and at that point with a mall cop.

I was relieved to say the least.  And Liam...just mad that I was making him come with me.  He seemed completely unconcerned that he was wondering around alone in a strange place without any parents.  That punk!  I definitely need to teach that boy stranger danger! 

Now, in the defense of my husband- we later learned that some bystanders saw Liam bolt from the play area and he took off running without so much as pausing to look back.  It was enough time to get a sufficient head start before Chad could even discern that he was actually missing rather than just hiding in some tunnel or something.    

I later checked my phone record to figure out just how long he was missing from us.

Seven minutes.      
seven
(I took this picture on the way home from the mall.  So grateful to have my Liam safe.)

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