I’ve been wanting to go to the beach but my child who’s with me most often, Samantha is saying no. I really do like the beach, watching the waves and even better riding the waves as they come in. The last time Samantha and I were at the beach and in the water I was literally tossed head over heels by a giant wave. After I was done regaining my balance I realized I was having fun. But Samantha feels because we’ll soon be on vacation at the beach in a different state we shouldn’t go now. Fine…
So instead of going to the beach I got to reminiscing about previous day trips we used to take. I remember the last time I took Thomas to the beach. It was my bff Jenn and her 2 girls and me and Thomas and my girls. We were having a good time the girls were in the water, Samantha was very young and content to play in the sand. Thomas wanted to look for sea shells but absolutely refused to go in the water. Not even a bribe would change his mind. He was adamant about not going in. Fine so him and I would comb the beach for sea shells while Jenn stayed with Samantha and the girls.
All was fine sitting at our blankets until I looked up and Thomas wasn’t there anymore. I looked left, looked right; up and down the beach. No Thomas. OMG. My only saving grace of not panicking too much was knowing he wouldn’t drown since he hated the water. Jenn stayed with Samantha and Jenn’s older daughter came with me to look. After what seemed like an eternity we still couldn’t find him. Then I started thinking of every horror story of developmentally disabled people being lured away and bad things happening to them. How would I explain this to Tommy? How do I even go home? I pictured myself camping out at the beach until he was found.
At this point Jenn and I decided to alert the lifeguards maybe they could help find Thomas. I approached one life guard and described Thomas that he was delayed and speech impaired, what he was wearing and that he really didn’t like the water. He was on his radio immediately. Turns out a life guard from all the way down the other side of the beach found him. As I walked the long distance to get him I was so relieved and happy I wanted to skip. I couldn’t believe how far I walked or rather how far Thomas had walked by himself.
Finally we met up. Thomas and the prettiest female lifeguard. I was so happy to see him. Thomas of course blamed me for him getting lost, “Mom…you left me…” I was like, “Ha! I didn’t leave you…you were the one who walked away!” It didn’t matter though I was so happy to see him. I teased him that he wanted to hang out with the pretty lifeguard. We walked back to Jenn and the girls.
I can’t describe the terror I felt when Thomas was missing. It was awful. I also can’t describe the joy I felt when we found him. The other times we took him to the beach was during a medication change and he refused to even look for shells and stayed glued to his beach chair with umbrella he wouldn’t have any part of being at the beach. Then he went to live at the residential school. I miss looking for shells with him.