Exploring the World in His Airplane Pajamas

Exploring the World in His Airplane Pajamas

Exploring the World in His Airplane Pajamas

 

I was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car on Tuesday morning while driving down a busy street in Wauconda, a local suburb, when two cars in front of us stopped abruptly and pulled over to the side of the road.

We soon understood why.

A little, airplane pajama-clad, blond-haired boy was wandering into the busy street, oblivious to the many cars cruising by him. I waited a moment, certain that the occupants of the cars in front of us would get out. But when they didn’t, I jumped out of the car and walked up to the boy, bending down and extending my hand.

“Hi there! Let’s get out of the street because it’s too dangerous to walk here with all of the cars,” I suggested as he placed his warm, silky little hand in mine.

“Hey, is this your house?” I asked, motioning to a house a short distance away.

He nodded, so I suggested that the two of us take a stroll to the front door. As we did, I asked what his name was.

“Logan,” he replied, climbing the stairs to the front porch.

“Really? That’s my son’s name, too.” I smiled, releasing his hand to ring the doorbell. No one answered.

“Is your mommy home with you today, Logan?” I asked while knocking.

“No she’s not here anymore,” he mumbled softly.

“Is your Daddy with you then?”

“Nope, he went to Gram’s house.”

“Well then, is a babysitter watching you?” I inquired, becoming concerned that this 4-year-old was lord and master of his domain.

“I don’t know,” he replied staring down, transfixed on an ant on a mission scurrying across a front porch plank.

From up on the porch, I scanned my surroundings: a row of tall dense evergreens blocked the house from the street. Dark brown paint covered its siding, while even darker brown plastic mini-blinds, pulled all the way down to the window sill, entirely blocked the view inside. Debris-laden spider webs consumed the porch ceiling corners, and worn patches marred the painted wooden path up the stairs and to the door.

Logan and I talked and knocked and rang for a few minutes, and then I reached for his hand once more as we turned to walk away.

Right at that moment, the door opened.

A man in his late twenties dressed in a t-shirt and jeans stood nonchalantly in the doorway.

“Hi, is this your son?”

He nodded, taking me in.

I guess I had expected to see someone who had just stepped out of the shower and had suddenly realized his son was missing, or someone holding a crying baby looking harried, or at least someone with a more concerned air who wondered why his son was outside holding the hand of a stranger, while he, the father, remained tucked safely away inside.

“He was walking in the middle of the street, so I brought him home,” I said, waiting for a reply.

“Logan Alexander!” he growled, reprimanding the boy.

“Oh my gosh! That’s my son’s name exactly!” I exclaimed without even realizing it, feeling gooseflesh rise on my arms.

“Uh huh. Thanks,” he said curtly as he leaned over the threshold, yanked the boy into the house, and closed the door firmly.

My gooseflesh remained.

Suddenly I was struck by how much I loved and missed my fully grown Logan Alexander. At the same time, I wished for this little Logan Alexander an abundance of love and care, all the while fearing that may not be in the stars for him. I hope fate is kind to this boy whose soft, small hand and sweet voice brought me back to my own Logan’s childhood. My Logan who now stands over six feet tall, and whose hand swallows up my own.

I headed slowly back to the car lost in thought.

Does that little one live a happy life?

Will he be left alone to wander out into the street again?

Where did his mother go?

Would I have been immediately aware, when I had young ones, if one of my kids had ventured outside and into a busy street? Perhaps not.

What words of wisdom would my son share with this boy in terms of navigating his way through life as a “Logan Alexander?”

What took the father a full five minutes to answer the damn door?

Was he too busy supervising a secret basement meth lab to care about the whereabouts of his son?

Have I been watching too much cable TV as of late?

I’ve revisited this scene in my head numerous times over the last few days. The fact that this little tyke was walking in the middle of a busy road is disturbing to say the least, not to mention the oddness of the cold reception I received upon returning a wandering child in danger, and the foreboding feeling I had afterwards.

From this point forward, I’ll always keep an eye out for that sweet little boy when I pass his house, as I have twice since I first saw him already.

And so we love our own children and those in our “village” to the best of our ability. As much as we’re allowed to. We protect them and guide them and help them become the best versions of themselves that they can be.

And when they venture into a busy street chasing daydreams or butterflies or ants on a mission, we pull them back to safety, redirect them, and send them off once more, this time, hopefully, on the right path.

We do this continually . . . as many times as it takes.

 

So tell me, would you have called DCFS as some are suggesting I should have done? I’m interested in hearing your perspective.

Written by Becky


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14 Comments
  • Kim Roach says:

    No, I wouldn’t have called. The boy did not seem scared to return home, he did not appear to have bumps and bruises. He was in his PJ’s that seemed clean and were a perfectly reasonable outfit for before 9:30 am. He also wasn’t far from home (on the street right in front of his house) and it was good/warm weather. The outdoors can be very enticing on a spring day.

    Most men are very short on words and explanations. Many are poor communicators. A thank you was probably all the dad felt he needed to say. I’ll keep an eye on the house too and look for little Logan. But as it stands now, you did exactly what should’ve been done.

    • Becky says:

      Thanks for that reassuring perspective, Kim. I felt strongly, too, that one of the primary disconnects was about the difference between how men communicate and react to certain situations versus how women do. And the lack of any sign of abuse was also another thing I took into account. Yes, please keep an eye out for this precious little boy. And if it happens again, then someone should be called because it’s too dangerous of a situation to ignore.

  • Adrienne P says:

    I’m left wondering… what if the dad hadn’t finally answered the door? I’m guessing it would’ve been a call to the police who could determine who the boy belonged to and have the authority to question the father as to why his child wasn’t properly supervised. No parent who is ‘trying his best’ would give you such a cold reception after realizing you most likely saved his child’s life. Maybe it’s still appropriate to call the police and report the incident, in case there is a history of police and/or DCFS visits to that home. It feels like it shouldn’t go unreported. Also, what was wrong with the people in the car ahead of you – who stopped but didn’t get out and help?? You truly were this boy’s guardian angel, Becky.

    • Becky says:

      Yep, all of yours are questions that I’ve been asking myself repeatedly over the last few days, Adrienne, as well. The boy was such a sweetheart, too.

  • Patty from MMC says:

    You were his guardian angel at a time when he needed it. Such a hauntingly strange story!

  • Kimberly says:

    Becky, that is the craziest story! I am awestruck that the little boy shared the same name as your son! Coincidence? Serendipity? As I was reading your unique post, my mind was thinking, ‘Becky is such a talented writer; this will all turn out to be a dream that she is sharing.’ No, it was true! First of all, thank you for coming to the aid of that little guy. You were his angel that day. Second, you did what was right at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20. I probably would have done the same thing you had done and then questioned my decision just like you are doing. What an enlightening story. Here’s my connection-my own 16 month old grandson is able to open the front door of his house. He can do virtually the same thing as the little guy in your story.
    I was horrified when I recently saw my grandson open the door of his home and step onto his front porch which leads to his grassy front yard which leads to a street in the front of his house. I told my daughter, “Don’t ever take your eyes off of him.” She replied, “That’s why we have a deadbolt.” (I didn’t argue that it’s not always being used correctly.)
    One of my consistent prayers is for the safety of my children and grandchildren.
    If the little ones are ever in harms way, I hope they will have an angel on earth like you to rescue them.❤️

    • Becky says:

      Aw, thanks, Kimberly! I only wish it had been a dream. It’s a haunting scenario for me. And your example of your grandson opening the door on his own further illustrates that this incident could even happen to very good, attentive parents, like I’m sure your daughter is. We can’t possibly be on watch 24/7, and even fail safe measures like deadbolts are only remedies if they’re used each and every time the door is closed.

  • Stephanie says:

    It must have been so difficult for you to walk away and leave him there. I understand why little Logan Alexander will frequently be on your mind.

    • Becky says:

      You’re right, Steph, it was. Would you have called DCFS?

      • Mary says:

        You are a protective mom and I understand your concern, but I would not call DCFS because it can’t be assumed that it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence from a single incidence. No parent is perfect. Even wonderful parents have young children that have wandered off, at some point, while they were distracted. Ask a group of parents you know to be responsible and still you’ll hear horror stories.

        If you are worried about Logan Alexander, then pray for him to be protected. You got chills for a reason. I don’t think that it was coincidental that you ran into a child named exactly the same as your son. Maybe it was for you to pray for him because he actually is in trouble…he doesn’t have a mom to look out for him, only a dad. Pray for the dad. Or maybe it was so that you would get in touch with your sorrow about your son’s not needing you in the same protective way and a longing to be needed in that way again.

        Abruptly changing the subject (:, I loved reading your account of the incident. You write very well and I wanted the story to go on where you invited them to one of your neighborhood gatherings where they were bowled over by the caring concern of their neighbors. Healing and beneficial relationships resulted that made it so Logan and his dad were more than taken care of by the neighborhood community like a hallmark movie. You’d be a good screenwriter or short story writer. I was visualizing the whole scenario. Your writing is so good, Becky. REALLY good!

        • Becky says:

          Thanks for your perspective, Mary. You’re very astute with your comment about my sorrow over my son not needing me in the same protective way. It’s really hard to let them go free. Thank you so much for your complement on my writing as well. I often wonder if my words are reaching others. It’s nice to know that, in your case at least, they are. Now, I’ve got to get working on that happy ending Hallmark screenplay starring little Logan Alexander . . .

      • Stephanie says:

        No Becky, I don’t think I would have called DCFS. My thinking is the same as what some others have noted. First., it’s true that men communicate less than women, and just because someone is curt or rude doesn’t make them a bad parent. He may very well have been embarrassed; if that happened to my child i would have been embarrassed and would have apologized and thanked you repeatedly until you couldn’t wait to leave! He may have just wanted the embarrassing situation to be over.

        In addition, frankly that could happen to even the most diligent parent. Our daughter pushed on an unlocked screen door, fell out on the porch and ended up with a big scrape on her forehead that we will never forget since its in all her first birthday party pics! Did we always lock that door? Yes, but Dave had gone out to the driveway to get something out of the car so for a few moments it wasn’t locked.

        That said, could the situation actually more closely resemble your worst fears of bad or neglectful parenting? Maybe, but you just don’t know and it doesn’t sound like there was enough evidence to confirm that. You will likely never know; you did a kind thing, helped a child and made a decision that seemed like the right thing at the time so on that day, you were there for Logan Alexander.

        • Becky says:

          I hear you. Within a two day period, when Spence had just begun walking, he face-planted onto the garage floor, and got his fingers smashed in the hinge side of the front door. Neither of these injuries were on purpose and both were avoidable, and yet they happened.

          My intuition is telling me that this father was embarrassed. Hopefully trusting my intuition in this case will prove to be a good thing.


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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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