I was in Burlington Coat Factory today with Meghan and Lainie and Jackson. I was trying on a coat, and Jackson was on the floor by my feet playing with some belts. The next thing I knew, I looked down to smile at my son, and he was gone. Just gone. I started looking around the area immediately near me, as the panic built. I started walking, around and around. No Jackson. I started running. Pictures of children on missing posters filled my mind. The images and memories of newspaper articles and billboards of children kidnapped, molested, raped, murdered flooded me as I ran faster and faster, asking every person I passed "Seen a little blond boy, red shirt, khakis, black sandals?" and the dismay as they said "Sorry, no" Lainie ran behind me, screaming, crying and panicking. She sobbed "Dear God, please don't let me lose my brother. I dont wanna lose my brother." A saleswoman brought me to the security guard and as I started describibg Jackson so he could alert mall security, a woman came to me, and yelled "I think we found him! Two men in the toy section have him, he's playing with some toys" I RAN. I ran like Hell. Yes he was still in the store, and had only been missing a few minutes, but I ran as fast as I could to my baby, Lainie at my side. I turned around the corner to the toy section, and there he was. Sitting on the ground playing with a little toy truck. The man that found him was standing there smiling. I grabbed him, and hugged him hard. He definitely looked freaked out. I dropped to my knees and grabbed my son. I pulled him to me, crying and shaking. He was safe in my arms and had no idea anything had ever happened.
I thought for 5 minutes today that I might never see my son again. I thought I would be handing out MISSING posters to neighbors and be pleading on the news to the kidnapper to please bring my baby home. I put him to bed tonight in his own bed. I tucked in my little boy and my sweet girl. And I felt so lucky. I felt like I had just brought them both home from the hospital all over again. I hope I never have to wonder where my children are. I hope I never miss a day of their lives. I hope all the missing babies in the world come home safely. I hope God is answering those parent's prayers, the way he answered my daughter's prayer today. I hope you all kiss your kids goodnight tonight.