42: Where’s Roger?

42: Where’s Roger?

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

Where’s Roger?

No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.

~Carrie Snow

When Roger was in kindergarten, I was a single mom, and we lived in an apartment complex that had a playground. One afternoon after I had picked him up from school, I told him he could go to the park after we got our errands done. We got home that day, and he wanted to go to the park immediately. I told him I needed to change the baby and get a few other things done first. I juggled the baby carrier and groceries along with Roger up the stairs. Just as we entered our third-floor apartment, the phone rang. I thought Roger went into his room, and I went about everything I had to do.

As I answered the phone, I put the groceries away, changed the baby, checked the mail, separated the laundry, and started dinner. I noticed that Roger was really quiet; he was not under my feet as he usually was. I called him, but there was no answer. That wasn’t really surprising, though, because he doesn’t always answer when called. I looked in his room. No Roger. Well, the apartment was not that big; he had to be somewhere, and I had seen him come in. I looked in my room. Nope. I called out, “Roger, I’m not playing! Where are you?” No answer. I was starting to panic. I looked in the bathroom. No sign of Roger. After searching the apartment twice, I was in a full-blown panic. Where could he be?

My friend on the phone said maybe he took himself to the park. I ran down the stairs and across the complex to the park, carrying my six-month-old and calling Roger’s name. I knew I must have looked crazy. I kept calling his name outside, but there was still no answer. A few neighbors came out to help me look. My friend had hung up and started driving over. I ran back up the stairs to look again in every closet and cabinet, and under every bed. The neighbors helped by searching the buildings, but we could not find him anywhere. Where could he be? Kids don’t just disappear.

As I was picking up the phone to call the police, I noticed a little movement behind the couch. My first thought was, “Great, not only can I not find my child, but now I have a mouse.” I know that was not the sanest thought, but my mind was running a mile a minute.

I dialed the phone.

Operator: “911, what is your emergency?”

Me: “I can’t find my five-year-old son. He was just here, and now he’s not.” I started telling the operator everywhere I had looked.

Operator: “Ma’am, I need you to calm down. When did you last see him?”

Me: “About fifteen minutes ago.”

I walked over to the couch to check out the movement I saw for a second time.

Operator: “Okay, now.” This is where I cut her off!

Me: “Never mind. I am so sorry, I just found him! He crawled behind my couch and is taking a nap!”

Yep, Mommy of the Year here.

Operator: “No problem. Glad you found him.”

He had squeezed himself behind the couch and fallen asleep. He was completely clueless to everything going on around him. For him, it was a little nap. For me, it was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.

~Pamela Hermanson Camel

More stories from our partners