Just Too Much

A few weeks ago on social media, I saw a news segment about Toysrus and autism.  Toysrus was opening early, turning down the lights and music, and allowing autism families to come in and shop.  This would be a great way for the kids to see what they wanted for Christmas without the sensory overload that happens so often in stores.  I thought that I would try this myself.  Though my local Toysrus wasn’t a part of that program, I decided I would take MJ in the late afternoon, when I knew the store would be more empty.  On the way to the store I had the “stay with me when we are in the store” talk with MJ and Morgan.  When we got out of the car I looked at both of them and had the talk again.  We walked in and I was very pleased to see that there weren’t many people there.  It was perfect.  We walked around for about 30 minutes while MJ walked from aisle to aisle browsing.  I took pictures of all of the items that he seemed interested in.  When we got to the electronics aisle he stopped to look at a game and I decided to take a pic.  I turned around to see what else he was looking at, and he was gone!  I asked Morgan if she saw where he went and she said no.  I quickly went over to the next aisle….no MJ…went to the next aisle…no MJ…Ran to the next aisle…no MJ.  I went back to the electronics section, to check again for him, thinking he may come back looking for me…NO MJ!  At that point I practically grabbed a sales associate and said, “My son has autism, his name is MJ.  He is wearing a blue shirt and blue shorts (I ALWAYS know what he is wearing when we leave the house, because of this very thing).” The employee immediately got on the radio to alert the other employees.  At this point I grabbed my daughter’s hand and began running, looking, and yelling at the top of my lungs, “MJ…MJ…MJ MJ MJ, MJ, MJ, MJ, MJ MJ, MJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ!” In my mind, I thought, “MY GOD, what if someone took him?” Every news segment I have ever seen about a missing child came back to me! I looked at Morgan to see her crying hysterically.  I called, “MJJJJJJJJ” one last time and finally saw him towards the back of the store. I ran up to him saying “Where were you? Don’t do that again! You have to listen to mommy! You have to stay with mommy!”  I could tell by the look on his face that he did not understand what he did.  I told him to look at Morgan.  She was still crying.  I told him that he scared her, scared both of us.  I then told him to give her a hug.  They hugged for a few moments.  I then found an employee to tell them that I had found MJ.  The employee said, “Cancel code Adam.”  I’m pretty sure that Adam, refers to Adam Walsh, the boy that was kidnapped from a store, his remains found.  I remembered hearing about that as a kid.  It affected me back then and it still affects me today. The whole ordeal was about 5 minutes.  The worst 5 minutes of my entire life. When we got home I spoke to MJ about everything again. I reiterated how important it is for him to stay with us when we are out.  I explained the danger of him being away from us, that all people aren’t good, that some people would want to hurt him.  I have no idea how much of that he truly understood but at one point he said, “Mommy, I was just looking around.” I know that he really didn’t think that he did anything wrong.  After all, we were there to have him look around. He touched my eyes as I spoke to him.  I believe that he was making sure I wasn’t crying.  Sometimes this journey feels like too much…just too much.  I am currently looking for a type of GPS device that I can purchase for MJ to wear.  This was too frightening…This cannot happen again…

Sometimes this journey

feels

like

too

much.

 

 

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40 thoughts on “Just Too Much

  1. Oh my Lord, thank God he was okay! What a frightening ordeal! I’m literally in tears. Whew, thank you Lord for protecting MJ. I’m glad that Toys R Us had a code for emergencies like this.

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  2. Scary. I can understand the panic. Sheer terror.

    When Stephen was younger he did roam and a couple of times I “Lost” him in church but fortunately the Mothers of the Church realized he was different and protected him. Also in Shopping Malls he would see people dressed up as his favorite cartoon characters and off he would go. I would have to stop him telling him that was not really Scooby-Doo or Fred Flintstone but a man in a costume. Stephen tends to be trusting and friendly with everyone which is not good. However I have noticed now that he has gotten older he has become very clingy when we are together. We will go to our respective bathrooms and Stephen will be standing directly outside the Ladies room until I come out. Most times now when we go out it’s like he’s glued to me under he is ready to return to his Residence.

    I’m Glad everything worked out and pray that MJ’s Guardian Angel will always be with him.

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  3. When I was a kid, long before my diagnosis, my mom made a rule that I had to be able to see her and wave at her oo I had gone too far sway. I wandered in stores, from stores, into different stores. I was a nightmare but I couldn’t help it. Something would catch my attention and the whole world ceased to exist. The only things that existed were me and this thing I had to see or touch or hear. It’s hard to explain even know exactly how that feels but it can feel like I can’t breath until I go look/see/hear this thing.

    You are right about the origin of Code Adam. It’s been used in every retail place I’ve ever worked in and it is indeed named for the late Adam Walsh. I understand your fear but kidnappings by strangers are much, much more rare than the media would lead one to believe. Stranger abductions are very, very unlikely to happen.

    Most people are generally good folks I think. It doesn’t seem so and I am not discounting your fear. But here is this: if I see an unattended child walking through a store I keep an eye on them. I get an employee of the store and let them know that a child is over on aisle whatever alone in case a guardian has all ready raised the alarm. And I stay until that child has been reunited with their family. It sounds strange I suppose but I remember the look on my mom’s face when she found me after fifteen minutes of frantic searching. I know now that that look was fear.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I am imagining that it also happens with MJ. He sees something that he’s interested in and is totally focused on it. Maybe I will try what your mom used to say to you. Praying that he’ll listen.

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      1. When I was about eight my mom was at the end of her rope with me and my elopement. So I started to play Marco Polo with her. If I moved away and couldn’t see her I said “Marco,” in what my mom called my “inside voice”. If she could not hear me I had gone too far. I would call louder and eventually she would reply and I would keep calling until I found her. If she looked up and I wasn’t there she would shout “Marco!” and I would reply. She was always embarrassed by this game but it kept me in check and most people would give a little smile or laugh. I used this game with my much younger siblings (my youngest sister is only now 15 while I am in my early thirties) when I took them into stores. I use it even now because I have a tendency to wander away. Hearing that call of “Marco!” could snap me out of a “special interest daze”. You may give it a try.

        Also, elopement (as wandering is technically called) can be a dangerous behavior. You have the right to call an ARD meeting with your son’s school (if he is in a public school) and add an element of curriculum to instruct and teach alternative behaviors that are more appropriate than just wandering away. I don’t know what state you are in but the bylaws for special education in schools are generally the same. I know it is difficult (nauseating sometimes) to deal with the schools but you and your son have that right.

        When I was a child I often had people tell me “to get back to your mom” or “you go on back now”. I look out for kids in stores because I deeply care about the welfare of children. Other people do to. I see it with my goddaughter if she gets too far from me. A pair of watchful, friendly eyes are on her until she gets back to me. Most adults want children to be safe and a large portion of them will do something to make it so.

        I love my brother and sister in Christ as I love myself. That means everyone. Its hard not to be afraid but know that good folks are looking out. I think they always have been, since the very beginning, and I think they always will. I know I will.

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  4. Nicky, that was frightening. Surrender him unto Jesus and don’t be fearful as The Lord hates fear because it means we don’t trust Him. I know as a parent it’s hard not to fear but don’t let this incident hinder you and MJ from living. May the Lord bless you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I lost my son in a zoo once, when he was 8. I ran around like a loony, slipping on the icy paths – then I found him. Horrible. He’s not autistic, but he also did not understand what he’d done wrong ‘just went to look at the penguins’. AAARRGGHHH. So glad MJ is ok. Hugs🌺🌺🌺🌺

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  6. Oh my goodness, NickyB. My heart is racing now after just reading this story. Yes, at times it does feel like too much and you wonder if you’re fit for the cause. First thank God that he was found unharmed and even though he seemed unaware, you were able to reiterate the lesson to him, you are more aware than ever yourself. Thank God for His mercy to you and your little MJ.

    I worry about my Jonathan because he is only 11 years old and autistic and stands 5’8″ tall. He is still a young boy and in the face you can tell he’s a young boy, but people don’t see that often. I worry about him and believe me I keep him close to me whenever we are out and about.

    Praying for your continued strength and give little MJ a squeeze for me, too.

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  7. Oh my goodness, NickyB. My heart is racing now after just reading this story. Yes, at times it does feel like too much and you wonder if you’re fit for the cause. First thank God that he was found unharmed and even though he seemed unaware, you were able to reiterate the lesson to him, you are more aware than ever yourself. Thank God for His mercy to you and your little MJ.

    I worry about my Jonathan because he is only 11 years old and autistic and stands 5’8″ tall. He is still a young boy and in the face you can tell he’s a young boy, but people don’t see that often. I worry about him and believe me I keep him close to me whenever we are out and about.

    Praying for your continued strength and give little MJ a squeeze for me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m really sorry this happened buy glad he was ok. My son does not tend to wander off at all, but I’ve lost him twice. It’s the worst feeling ever. I hope you find a system that works for you whether that means some sort of tracker or whatever. {love}

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    1. I am diligently searching and researching a great GPS tracker. I have to find something that he is going to keep on and not try to take off at the first opportunity. Hugs to you and your family.

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  9. Thank goodness he was OK. I’m so sorry this happened. Love and hugs.
    I remember when my narcissistic ex-husband ran off with our then 8/9 week old son out of spite. It was the LONGEST ten minutes of my life. I’m just glad that you’re all well. xo

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  10. I don’t have autistic kids but i certainly understand the panic one can experience loosing a child. I myself was one who got lost in an entertainment park as a child. it was scary. but loosing a child is scarier. Im looking into getting a tracking device too. not just because they can get lost but because you said it too, there are bad people out there.

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  11. Hell, I was scared reading this. I know the feeling because my son has ran in the blink of an eye and he isn’t autistic. Your biggest fear thinking that someone snatched your baby becomes realized as you search frantically for him. Girl, been there! I’m so happy he’s okay.

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