I Went as Fast as My Feet Would Move.
When Dylan was two years old, we came home to our two-bedroom, garage-less rambler. Our rental home was tucked away in a wooded yard – oddly also on a very busy street.
I unbuckled him from his car seat, and he said, “Can I go in the back door, Mommy?”
“Okay,” I told him. “The back door is locked, so I’m going to go in the front door. I will go through the house and unlock the back door so you can come in.”
“Okay, Mommy,” he said.
I went as fast as my feet would move, as I watched Dylan toddle around to the back of the house. I unlocked the front door, went inside, and raced to the sliding glass “back” door.
Dylan wasn’t at the door. I didn’t see him on the porch, either. I raced out the back, calling his name – “Dylan!” – but he didn’t answer. He wasn’t anywhere near the back door.
We didn’t have a backyard – just a little porch and a shed. Screaming now, “DYLAN!” – I ran to the locked shed, ran around it, looked in the neighbor’s yard, desperately searching for my little boy.
No answer. How could this have happened? I thought. It only took me 30 seconds to get in the front door and through the house!
I went back into the house, hoping he’d somehow gone in the back door after all. “Dylan?!” I tried. The one-floor house was achingly empty.
I ran out the front door. “DYLAN!” Still no answer. But through the wooded front yard, I saw something move.
Right next to the street.
It was Dylan. He had his back to me. Cars were roaring by him, not three feet from where he stood. He looked like he was waiting for an opening in the traffic, so he could cross.
In his right hand, he held the handle of his little red wagon. And he was just standing there, staring at the cars.
“DYLAN!” I screeched, running full-force through the trees to stop him from stepping into the rushing traffic.
I fell to my knees next to him. I tried to take a breath. I probably cried. I probably said, “Why didn’t you go in the back door?” but I don’t remember saying anything at all.
I just knew my baby was safe. I thanked God. And we went on with our lives.
This morning, I dropped off Dylan at middle school. And every time I do, I feel like I’m putting him back where I found him at age two: standing next to the roaring traffic, with his little red wagon and his back to me, watching.
And waiting to take his next step.