Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An anniversary I'd rather forget

I hope you all had a safe and happy 4th! I can happily report that Aaron did not get into any significant trouble! Woo hoo! We let him play with some sparklers, so he had a lot of fun running around with those! He was disappointed when they were "all done". It is so much fun to see the smile on his face when he's really enjoying something (and when that something isn't trouble)!!!

Today is the eighth anniversary of the first (yes, first) time Aaron wandered, and the last time we ever went tent camping. Would you like to hear a story? We enjoyed a nice BBQ and 4th of July party at a friend's house. They live on property so a bunch of us pitched tents and spent the night there. (I know there are some of you who are wondering but don't have the guts to ask--there was no alcohol at this party--that I remember...JUST KIDDING--there really wasn't any. Now that we have that cleared up.) Aaron was 2 years, 5 months and 3 days old (I'm not telling you how old I am). The five of us (me, husband, and our three kids-2, 4 & 5--go ahead, raise your eyebrows on how close they are in age, you wouldn't be the first) cozied up for the night in our tent. The next morning I woke up around 6:30 and didn't see Aaron in his sleeping bag. I asked husband if he saw Aaron, but he wasn't anywhere in the tent. We all got out and started calling his name, but we couldn't find him. Everyone was out of their tents now looking for him. Husband got into the car and started driving down the street while I called 911 and started giving the operator a description of him. They dispatched an officer, and while they were still on the phone with me, another call came in saying someone found a little boy matching Aaron's description. Whew! We followed the officer down to the Stanwood Police Station, and with a lot of tears got our boy.

Now--here is another part of the story (the part I wasn't there for). Diane was driving down the street when she saw a figure laying down in the middle of the street on the center line that looked like a little kid. (Aaron is fascinated with street lines--of course) She pulled over when she realized that her eyes weren't deceiving her, and went over and picked him up. Minutes later a semi-truck went zooming by (oh and there aren't any shoulders on this road). God was watching out for him! She knocked on a door to a nearby house, but no one answered. As she tells it, she had watched too many CSI episodes because she started imagining all of these different scenarios where an entire family was murdered and the baby escaped! So she stopped knocking on doors! Of course it was the one day that she didn't have her cell phone with her so she flagged down a lady and called 911. She ended up taking him to the police station. When she got there the officer asked her if she realized he was autistic (he knew this because of our call). She said no. He seemed quite uncomfortable with the thought of being left alone with an autistic toddler, so he asked her if she would stay until we got there (which she did). Like I said, there were many tears from everyone (except the police officer, but that's ok--I don't begrudge him). When she finally got where she was originally going, her family didn't know why she was so late and she told them they'd never believe it!

Picking him up from the police station was crazy and emotional, and we never got her name (or at least I didn't hear it!). Our town is a small one, so with some investigative work we found out who Aaron's mystery angel was. We met her at her work with some flowers, and we have been friends ever since. It was funny (although I'm not sure that's the right adjective) because she's a hairdresser and I was looking for a new one, and she was looking for a music teacher for her son--and my husband is one. So it was all meant to be :). For almost the past 8 years this woman has cut Aaron's hair EVERY Wednesday morning at 9:00 for free. We have our little routine--he gets a piece of candy when he's done (it used to be Bazooka Bubble Gum, then it switched to flavored Tootsie Rolls. She tries to make sure she has a stock of what he wants--if not he goes rummaging through her stuff to try to find what he does want). Then he goes over to her water cooler and fills up a paper cup. Every week he tries to give her the trash (or just throw it on the floor), and every week she tells him to throw it away himself! :) It's a good thing his hair grows so fast! Week 1 is clippering the back, week 2 is trimming the top, week 3 is thinning--and then do it all over again! When he was really little if we missed a week he was horrible the next time! We still do it every Wednesday, but if we have to miss a week for whatever reason, he's okay.

I think it was a couple months later that she gave Aaron a bumper sticker that says "Angels are all around" (or something like that), and a cute little doll with a shirt that says "Hit the Road" (the above picture). Someone with the same sense of humor as me! Sweet! We joke about how unreal the whole story is, and sometimes when we leave I hear her telling her next client "That's the little boy I found in the street"....

I wish I could say that was the only time he wandered, but I can't. But I'll save some of those stories for another time. :) Oh--and any of my friends who were there and are reading this--if I left anything out it's because I've blocked it from my memory, so don't be offended that I forgot your significant part. I'm sure you wouldn't because you are all good friends.

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