It was July 4, 2008. We attended the firework ceremony near the lake. It was dark, but the beach was filled with many families. Ry had some colorful lights and his buddy had a bright light on his head, so I wasn’t worried about finding them. I had Ry give J one of his lights, so we’d know where he was too. I told J, “stay with Ry.” I could see Ry and his buddy were excited to be out late at night and running on the beach. At one point, I could see they were in a race towards us. “Where’s J?,” I asked.
Next thing I know I was looking for a 4 year old in a burgundy hoodie at night. And then I hear some girls calling out my name, I walk over. ” Are you J’s dad?” “Yes, where’s J?” He just left with his mother. I saw my wife and asked “where’s J?” She hadn’t seen him. At that moment, I started to worry.
As I walked around, people would say, “he went that way.” I wished he had stopped in one spot. The more people told me which way he went, the more I wished someone had helped him stay in one spot. And then we spotted our friend in a bright white shirt, and she had J with her. We hugged him,told him we loved him, and tried to sort out the details.
It appears he was not on his own for long. Another mom had given him to our friend. And that person kept an eye on our friend, till she believed J was with his parents. I was impressed that J had the instincts to tell some girls about the age of our babysitters my name. I was grateful our friend was there. But that minute or two sure felt like hours till he was in our arms.