Those words were sweet relief. I'd only been looking for a couple of minutes, but every moment since we realized Ben was missing had been filled with adrenaline.
I had been finishing dinner, Bubba was playing a game, and Lovely Wife was upstairs getting ready for the opening reception of the Utah state bar convention. I thought Ben was headed up to pester his mom, but instead, he squeezed passed the obstacles I'd placed in the hall and slipped quietly out the front door with his truck.
The part of my brain that monitors such things was expecting to hear some exclamations from my wife - something like "No! Put the make-up down!" It informed the rest of my brain that it was time to put the pizza down.
"Bubba - see if you can find Ben - quick!" He hopped up and dashed upstairs, returning quickly after searching all three levels of the condo. "He's not here!" Without prompting, he rushed outside to look for his little brother. I grabbed my phone and went to join him. He went uphill and I went down.
It was not long before the possible directions Ben had gone branched into something that would require a team of searchers, so when the nicely dressed woman said, "Are you looking for a boy?", I was very, very happy.
Ben had wandered into a reception, outdoors under a canopy. I loped up the stairs I'd just gone down and burst into the reception, barefoot and clad in t-shirt and shorts. The party-goers were well-dressed and slightly intoxicated.
One gentleman pointed across the tent and said, "He went that away!" I strode through and found Ben, who seemed happy to see me. I scooped him up and we marched back through the party. The bartender said, "He was the life of the party!"
|Her name is "Rio"|
...cue dream sequence...
Yesterday morning, about 3:30, I was riding motorcycles through an airport with my friend, David. We were trying to get to baggage claim. I can never read in my dreams, so I couldn't follow the signs. Also, my motorcycle seemed to be stuck on full throttle. The escalators were exciting.
I plowed into a neatly stacked pile of luggage (who does that?) just in time to see Ben go through a door on the baggage conveyor. I woke with a start.
My first thought was "What was that noise? Is Ben up?" I grabbed some clothes off the floor and headed downstairs. Ben's door was shut, so I headed to the first floor and checked the door - still bolted. The sliding door to the deck was still locked too. Ben couldn't lock either behind himself, so I knew he was still inside.
I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep upstairs, so I drowsed on the couch until Ben woke up at 6:00.
|Aspen child trap...good thing we bring spare clothes everywhere.|
It worked like a charm - I got a good night's sleep and the bottle tipped at 5 o'clock. Beer bottle clattering on marble was not the most pleasant way to wake up, but the sleep before it was deep and refreshing.
For information on autism and wandering, visit AWAARE.