“Mommy! Mommy!” his little voice cried out. The boy, no more than 3 or 4, stood alone in the aisle sobbing and crying for his mother. Not a sole was in sight. Even though I teach my granddaughters not to go with strangers, there was no choice but to help the boy.
“Is your mommy lost?” I asked.
“Mommy!” he sobbed. I told him we could walk over to the service desk, so they could call his mommy. He took my hand. I asked the clerk if she would call then sat on the floor and asked his name. His weeping frame crawled into my lap. I lifted his face again asking his name. Big elephant tears made their way from beneath his little round glasses running down his little round cheeks. I could not understand the language he spoke. I did understand the language of security when is arms wrapped around me and he sobbed into my vest.
“I’ll stay right here with you until your mommy comes.” I sat on the floor next to my cart holding this precious child. We had formed a trust in just a few minutes. I would protect him with my life, and he would let me. For about 10 minutes we sat as such, me rocking him as I would one of my own, him snuggled as close as he could get seeking safety. Where was she? Didn’t she realize her small child was missing from her side?
How often do I go into a store passing the toys only to find children playing in the aisle with toys scattered around them? Not a parent in sight. Toys are dirty and broken, boxes opened. I am angry at the parents who are concerned about their shopping and not their children.
There is nothing I would not have done for my children. Yes, maybe I should have taken more time for myself as they were growing up, but I have no regrets. Whatever I did, whatever decisions I made, I tried to think first about my children. They didn’t see things the way I did. I needed to see things as they did. As my friend said, “How can kids understand what adults expect or tell them when they are just trying to learn to tie their shoes?”
I sat on the floor with this little boy because I understood that looking up at strangers would be terrifying. He needed someone at his level, bending to his needs. I knew that a comforting tone not drilling him with questions was important. Should I have held him? I had no choice. The mother in me kicked in, and I would have stood off a pack of wolves for this little boy.
The woman eventually moseyed down the aisle talking to a man a bit younger and holding a toddler. She looked at this grams holding her son not even picking up her pace. Eventually, they got to us. She said his name. Still he clung to me unable to hear her over his sobs. Gently, I pulled him back and told him to look behind him. She called again. He quickly got up and ran to her hugging her knees. She hardly touched him, said thank you and walked away.
For a few seconds, I sat there. I wanted to grab the woman and shake her up. Did she realize what a precious gift she had in this son of hers? Her response said pages to this little boy. Did she care? Too bad she was inconvenienced!!!
The store manager thanked me for what I had done. Thanks? I’d done nothing special. Aren’t we the protectors of children? Aren’t we a part of the whole who does what we are supposed to do? Maybe I was placed in that place, at that moment for a reason. Who knows? I do know that a piece of my heart went with that little boy. Maybe it will be enough to give him a glimpse of something more than what he now possesses.
Bless the beast and the children for in this world they have no voice…..they have no choice.