We took a bike ride to the park today, the whole family. There's a great farmer's market on the weekends, as well as a playground filled with kids. We made our way through the crowds, filling our little bag with peaches and cherries, and just taking it all in.
After we made it to the park, we watched Joe-Henry and about thirty other kids manuever the slides and swings and monkey bars, kids of all ages and abilities from toddlers to kids of about seven or eight. There were some big girls on top of the monkey bars, looking down on all the little kids, and some parents pushing little ones on the swings.
"Logan", she called out, walking slowly around the playstructure. I only noticed her because there wasn't really a choice - she was large and wearing a light pink jacket, and my eye naturally went to her. I went back to watching Joe-Henry on the swing, finally, finally figuring out how to pump the thing by himself.
Logan!" A little louder now, as she circled again, looking into the pipe structure, and under the slide.
"Way to go, Joe-Henry! Great job - look how high you're getting!" His Dad shouted, looking at me, to see why I wasn't chiming in.
"LOGAN!" She paced through furiously now, her face getting red, as she whipped out her cell phone to call someone, I'm not sure who. "LOGAN! LOGAN! LOGAN!!!" I walked up to her, as did about four other moms and dads - "What does he look like?" I asked, without even looking at me she said "Blue shirt, brown pants, grey shoes, three years old. He's only three" One of the dads looked at me, "What color hair?" "I don't know" Why would I know? I think he was afraid to ask her, she was so panicked, she looked like she might have exploded, sending us all to the far corners of the park with the blast. "He's blonde" I heard someone say.
By this time, Joe-Henry has jumped off the swing, in his blue shirt and brown pants. I'm glad he's six and tall with brown hair, just so that, if in the frenzy, some well meaning someone grabbed him like a trophy and shouted "Here he is!", I could prove he was mine. Joe-Henry wants to help find the little boy, so we go looking through the market.
By the time we came back, unsuccessful, she was no where, as though she had vanished into thin air. There were no police, there was nothing but fear in the eyes of parents, watching their children like hawks. Our worst fear too close for comfort.