I've never been more panicked in all my life.
We were at Red Robin, Mark, the kids and grandma, our 20 minute wait stretching into 30. I was checking and rechecking the list to see when we'd be seated. Lorelei and Gryffy were next to all of us, playing games. Or at least, so I thought. The problem was, each adult thought another adult was watching them. Diffusion of responsibility is a very bad thing.
And Gryffy went missing.
The search began. Gryffin? Gryffin? No sign of him.
My voice grew louder. GRYFFIN? GRYFFIN? OUR THREE YEAR OLD IS MISSING!
I ran into the parking lot, then back inside, in and out probably five times, my anxiety mounting.
Next thing I know, I'm yelling: "WE'VE LOST OUR THREE YEAR OLD! CURLY HAIR. PLAID SHIRT. I CAN'T FIND HIM!" I'm mobilizing the thousand or so people at the entry waiting for seats on a Saturday night. Everyone starts looking. High school kids and very cool dads are methodically checking the parking lot for me. People are running to check the bathroom. A helpful lady rushes onto the patio.
Now I'm pushing through people like a linebacker, hollering to everyone seated in every last section of the restaurant, "MY THREE YEAR OLD IS MISSING! PLAID SHIRT. HELP ME LOOK FOR HIM, PLEASE!!!" I interrupted everyone's dinners, with Lorelei in my wake crying, as frightened as I was.
My heart has never felt so desperate.
And thankfully my panicked pleas paid off as a woman in the back went looking under tables, and found him. Hiding. Under a booth. He'd been there for at least ten minutes.
Gryffy promised in the car never ever to hide at Red Robin again as we drove off before the police arrived. And the kids kept telling me to stop crying, but the tears just wouldn't stop. We ate at Chick-fil-A, and I still couldn't recover my breath. Lorelei kept rubbing my shoulder, comforting me.
Tonight before bed, she told me I "don't ever have to worry about Gryffy because God is watching over him." And that she would "send [me] an angel because [she] loves [me] so much, and the Spirit of heaven." Bless her sweet little heart.
And Buddy promised once again never, ever to hide from me again. Ever. I could tell he felt really awful for what he put us through.
The one thing that's still lost? My dignity. Every last scrap of it, gone. I'll be forever that mad raving woman screaming her lungs out over a lost kid at Red Robin. That kid who is sleeping tonight in his cozy bed in his pirate room, safe and sound.
And that's worth all the dignity in the world.
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