The day after I published my last blog post, I lost Joseph. Twice.
Ironic that I had spoken about understanding and here was a perfect example of him showing no awareness of danger and then there was me completely misjudging a situation. I know this will have happened to more than just me, but I couldn’t have been more angrier at myself for those 3 minutes I couldn’t find him.
We had walked to Clifton Park in Rotherham which always attracts hundreds of people on a ridiculously hot day like it was that day. There’s a splash area and Joseph changed into his trunks and I told him where I would be sitting. I bent down to place his clothes in the bag and looked up and he was gone. My eyes started to dot back and forth and it was only then I truly realised how many people were in the area and how I could not see a bloody thing. Too many bodies everywhere and I was worried that he would wander out of this section and into the playground area. It briefly crossed my mind that someone may have taken him, but felt that he will have simply wandered off.
I could feel my heart rate increasing and a million things going through my mind. It was pointless asking the people stood near me whether they could spot him as they probably wouldn’t be able to either. I wasn’t sure whether to move and look; if he did come back he might be looking for me as I had told him where I would be and then what would he do? I reluctantly started walking towards the gate leading to the playground whilst still casting my eye over the sea of faces. I immediately thought about Kate McGann and how she has been vilified for taking her eye off the ball and how I would be viewed for not keeping an eye on my son, especially as he has autism. I wondered whether the social workers would be in touch (and even more so now that I have publicly admitted it.) I thought about Joe in The A Word and how his parents allowed him to wander along the isolated road early in a morning and thought the mother was a dick and now I was one too. I was cursing Joseph for doing a vanishing act and managing it so quickly, when only that same morning he had whinged and moaned whilst running the junior parkrun. Yet now he had managed to speed off without a care in the world. I wondered how I could try and explain how dangerous it might be to lose Mum and that if anyone tries to take him to kick them in the cock (assuming it is in fact a man and if not substitute that for a crotch).
I then spotted a member of staff and told her I had lost my son and he had autism. She asked me what he was wearing and I told her stormtrooper trunks. She asked what colour trunks and I wanted to shout “Are you for fucking real? Everyone knows stormtroopers are white!!” and then Joseph appeared in front of me with a big grin on his face.
I wanted to shout at him but instead I cursed myself for being such a dick and decided I would follow him round from now on; just keeping a discreet distance so it didn’t feel like I was on his shoulder and allowing him the freedom to play. I had been so bloody lucky and I wasn’t going to lose sight of him.
I picked the bag back up and looked up and he was gone again. For Fuck’s Sake. Thirty seconds later I clapped eyes on him. I swear to God he has a teleporter. Or I am a Dick. Either way, if I haven’t learnt my lesson after these 210 seconds, I’ll bare my arse in an M&S window.