Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Balloon Boy Moment

My husband is no good at hiding things from me. That, "I need to take this phone call in the other room explanation." I didn't buy it. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. He kept saying, "Are you sure, are you sure?"

I would not be put off. "What is it?" I demanded. The explanation was the worst thing any mother or grandmother could imagine being told. It had been our daughter on the phone, our grandson was missing.

She had gone to work leaving her husband to get Dillon up and ready for the sitter. Morning as usual, but when he went to Dillon's room, Dillon was gone. Dillon was only four.

It was a small house so it didn't take long to search. No Dillon. No Dillon in the yard. No Dillon at the neighbors or anywhere on the block. The police were called and our daughter immediately left work. We were on our way as well.

She called me on my cell phone when she reached her house. I could hear the terror in her voice and the sirens in the background. I did my best to remain calm for her, it was all I had to offer. Every missing child story with a bad outcome was racing through my mind. The plaintive "Mom" she kept crying, made me feel so completely helpless.

The police had searched the neighborhood. They were calling in divers to drag the river. Did I mention they lived just above the river? Believe me, it was in the back of all our minds even if it remained unspoken. To hear it out loud from the police was terrifying for us all.

One of the officers arriving had gone to high school with my son-in-law. Even though the police had searched the house he wanted to search one more time before the divers went into the river. When he entered my daughter's bedroom a small foot was sticking out from under the bed.

My daughter and son-in-law were removed from the house. The officer wasn't sure if Dillon was alive and he didn't want the parents there not knowing what he was about to discover. And of course, if Dillon was dead and it was foul play, the parents could be considered suspects. He was doing his job.

The officer crawled under the bed. Sticking out from a closed suitcase was a child's foot. The officer pulled on the leg and it moved. Inside the suitcase was Dillon. He dragged the suitcase out from under the bed. Dillon emerged rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

He had wanted to spend the night with Mom and Dad, but his parents were discouraging the habit. He was a big boy, he had his own room and a big boy bed. Still, he wanted to be with Mom and Dad. So he crept into their bedroom during the night and crawled into an empty suitcase under the bed. They had no idea. Once asleep, Dillon was then and is now, very difficult to wake. He hadn't heard people calling his name. He hadn't heard the sirens. He didn't even wake when the officer pulled his foot.

By the time I arrived, like "balloon boy," we had a happy ending; but then you never know do you?


Blogger Caroline said...

When I was about 7, our house was robbed in the middle of the night when we there sleeping. From that night until 1 year later when we moved, I slept on the floor on my dad's side of the bed. I would eventually "scoot" underneath the bed to be extra safe. Oddly enough, I can relate to Dillon and his finding "security" under his parent's bed.

Family Stories

October 16, 2009 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Janet Iles said...

What a terrifying experience for the whole family! I am glad it had a happy ending.

October 16, 2009 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Caroline - Small person small space. I can see the "security" side of it. Scared the bejeebers out of us.

Yes Janet, happy endings are all that count. Again, my daughter learned that Mother knows best. Since she was a small child I have admonished her to clean everything out from under her bed.

October 16, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous GrannyPam said...

The terror of a missing child, even for a few minutes, is horrible. I'm glad your story had a happy ending.

October 16, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

This is the type of thing that takes years off the life of parents and grandparents. And I thought I had a panicky weekend recently when one of our cats fell asleep and got locked in the linen closet and we couldn't find him anywhere....

October 16, 2009 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Thank you. Every mother can imagine the terror even if they haven't experienced it.


October 16, 2009 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Yes, Greta, earned every gray hair on my head. I have a terrible "cat locked in story" that I will never be able to tell.


October 16, 2009 at 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a calm one. My mother would have had a heart attack on the spot as either mother or grandmother. I'm glad your balloon boy was okay! Maybe he'll have a son just like him one day who will scare the living daylights out of him.

October 16, 2009 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


From your lips to God's ears!


October 16, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Miriam Robbins said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

And Maven, you have a wonderful way with words!

October 16, 2009 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Your comment reminds me of my first posts, when I started blogging and you were always so encouraging.

Thank you for being encouraging even today!


October 16, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Abba-Dad said...

I've had it with all these terrifying stories. Missing kids, dogs with beaver fever, in-laws in plane crashes. What's next? Are you gearing up for Halloween or something? Give us a break will ya?

I'm now heading upstairs to check that both my girls are in their beds, kiss their curls and obviously not sleep a wink tonight. Thanks!

Still, Phew!

October 16, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Amir my friend, now you sound like my daughter. She's not crazy about reliving these stories. It's called life and these stories are just beginning for you. Let me mention Cars & Boys.

Those are the real nightmare stories, but I'm saving them for when the boys are teenagers. It will explain why their Mother always knows what they're up to. She's done it all before.

Good luck Dad!


October 16, 2009 at 8:17 PM  

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