Yesterday I shared the adventures I've had with an ailing mother over the past week. Five hours at the doctors office with mom, gathering the patience needed to endure sitting in a waiting room for an hour. Sitting in the examination room for thirty minutes at a time. Listening to mom with her tendancy to be glass half empty (I'm glass half full). But there was another part of that equation- Hannah (7 years old) was outside in the waiting room with my dad.
My Dad. He can digress his attention away from a child very easily, especialy if get gets drawn into conversation with another adult, or if in a store finds a display that catches his interest. I remember when Jackson was four, and we were at Myrtle Beach. I left Jackson with dad in one isle while I went a few isles over to get something. When I went back, dad was there, but Jackson wasn't. Not being as close to the Lord then as I am now, I had some strong feelings going on inside me at the thought that he paid so little attention to Jackson that Jackson was able to wander away from him. I knew it was honest by the look on his face, that's why I've never really been upset with dad, that's just dad. I learned better that day.
Mom, dad, and I (with 1 yo Hannah in tow) were all over that store looking for him, and about the time my heart sank as I walked towards the door envisioning seeing my boy being stuffed into another vehicle by a stranger, I heard the sweetest words any mother could hear during a time like that- over the loudspeaker: "Will Jackson's mom come to the front desk please? He is looking for you". I turn around as I was literally in the exit doors, to see my little boy so grown, on his tip toes at the customer service desk trying to look at the worker as he was watching her call me over the phone receiver. I immediately realized my failure as a parent at that moment because that was not something I had taught Jackson to do- to go to the front desk and ask a worker for help if he ever got lost. He was such an ACTIVE (=wild) child that I always had a hand on him, and always kept him in sight because I knew how quickly he could get away when he decided to make a run for it. (That's why I could not be mad at dad, after all, he was getting "old" and I knew Jackson's temperament was totally foreign to dad).
The worker asked me if I was his mom, and I said yes. They asked him and he said yes, with a huge smile on his face. They told me he walked up and said he could not find his mommy. They asked him what her name was and they could call her, and he said "mommy" - awww my melting heart! It was that week we started practicing him remembering mine and Jay's actual names.
So from then on I have to remind dad he can't walk as fast because little feet cannot keep up; that short people have a shorter attention span and he has to remind them to stay close by.
Fast forward six years to yesterday:
Hannah and dad are in the waiting room. Hannah's patience was worn thin. She has to go to the bathroom, which is right across the hallway from said waiting room. Dad stands in the doorway of the waiting room, waiting for her to come back from the bathroom. He gets to talking to another man waiting for his wife ... and some 30 minutes later he realizes Hannah had not complained to him in a while. He looks around and she's not there! He actually processes the idea that like him, Hannah meets NO stranger.
Dad freaks. He takes off to the front of the building (this place is like a doctor "complex" with multiple offices for varying things, very large, open building)- she's not there. He goes back where he gave blood earlier (and Hannah was with him), she's not there. He goes back to the waiting room we were in for when mom got her Xays abd utrasound ... she's not there, either.
He's ready to panic, and goes back to the first waiting room to check again, and he doesn't see her. Then another eldery man sitting in a corner points to another corner and asks "does she belong to you?", pointing to Hannah passed out on a couch on the opposite side of the room from where dad had been in previous conversation. Talk about relief! I'm just glad I was not out there and he was able to work that out on his own. Maybe future ventures he'll make a point to try and pay closer attention? Who knows. But hearing the story come from him was priceless.
Our last stop was the pharmacy across the street from the office building. We're all four in the car and I say "Dad you can go in and get the medicine" to which Hannah answers "Yeh and Papa don't get in any conversations with anyone!"