Posted by Walter
We nicknamed our oldest son "The Boomerang" when he was a few
months shy of 3 years old. He loved to run. Run ahead a few
yards, stop, look back and laugh hysterically as he turned and
dared my wife and me to catch him. A parental dilemma
ensued. If I chased after him too much, he would run a little
farther ahead and hide behind the nearest object and peek
out. I usually could easily find him from listening to him
laugh as I would say "I'm gonna catch you, you little bugger!" or
something of the like. If we were too tired from chasing "The
Boomerang" all afternoon, we would just simply stop and say "I give
up, where oh where has my "Boomerang" gone? He would circle around
and pop out saying "Here I am!"
On vacation at a well-known Florida theme park on New Year's
Eve, we meandered our way through a huge crowd, when "The
Boomerang" started up his circling cycle for a solid hour. My
wife, oldest daughter and myself, became exhausted from the game of
hide and "Boomerang" seek and the fear that struck us when we lost
sight of him. It was only a minute or two and he hid behind a
brightly decorated trash can or something like it, but we were all
scared to our core.
That day, after "The Boomerang" made his re-entry appearance
into the gravitational pull of our family's atmosphere, I felt it
necessary to do some hard core parenting. Once we got back to
the hotel room, I sat the young lad down and proceeded to scare the
boomer out of "The Boomerang." It started out as a simple parental
reminder to stay close and not play games and run away from us all
the time. He just laughed and tried to run out the door and
down the hall. I sprinted right at him, swooped him up and carried
his wiggly body back into the hotel room and closed the
door. What happened next, I will never forget. I
proceeded to tell my little "Boomerang" that if he ran away again,
he would be taken away by "bad guys" (a favorite subject of his at
the time) and he might never see us again. It seemed quite drastic,
but this little guy, smart as he was, had no fear. I actually had
to keep it up for a while, until he realized that he might be
separated from his Mommy and his toys, forever. He began to cry and
cry and seemed scared beyond measure.
This was a tough love moment for me. Had I done the right
thing? He had to learn somehow and a kiddie leash was not an
option. The stakes were too high. For the rest of the
trip the Boomerang stayed closed to Mommy and Daddy's side,
pointing at any people that looked strange to him in the theme
park. He would say "You're a bad guy. Stay away from me!" as
he held on tight to our hands. By the last day, he started to
do an abbreviated version of his "Boomerang" act once again saying
"Don't worry Mommy, I won't let the "Bad Guys" catch me, but you
My wife and I often joked that if any bad guys ever caught "The
Boomerang" they would pay us to take him back. This year our
son turned 12 and only makes me chase him after he dares me. I
enjoy it now, because I can still catch him once in a while.
Do you have any stories of when you lost sight of your child for
a heart-stopping moment?
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