"Barbara, I have been sneezing all morning. I am going to get my medicine," I explain to our building secretary as I sign out. "Bye!" I yell as I walk out the doors.
I go to the drugstore and my phone begins to ring. I hit the ignore button and pay for my prescription. As I continue to my car I call my mom back.
Instead of her usually perky hello she says, "Lynnelle, I can't find Emma. I have looked every where for her. There are several others canvassing the neighborhood..."
"I'm on my way!" I try to dial 9-1-1 while driving, but my hands shake so hard I can't hit the key pad correctly. My mind goes to the worst possible place. Kidnapped. Taken. Gone....
I park in my driveway, grab the house phone and the world seems to be spinning. It felt like I was in a movie. I was watching someone else's life. This couldn't be happening.
"My daughter is missing. She has Down syndrome. We can't find her."
I remember telling the operator what she was wearing. How tall she was. All the while looking around. I look down to see Gracie gripping my finger. A police car drives up. In the distance I hear "We found her." I drop to the ground. Another mother found her a block away--Emma was picking wild flowers. My heart stopped. She's safe. The sobs echo for all to hear. Emma gets out of the car. She walks up to the officer. "Hi, me Memma," she says as she reaches to shake his head. He checks her over and says, "Yes, we know who you are and we are glad you are safe." I say nothing, but hopefully the look on my face echos my thankfulness.
I didn't even ask the woman's name. I just hugged my daughter. I hope she knows what I owe her.
Over 2,000 children goes missing a day. Now, I wonder how many are found and how many must continuously feel the anguish I felt for 15 minutes. Heart wrenching.