Terrifying Riley Incident

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Something terrifying happened to me today. Well, it really happened to Riley but it didn't terrify him, it only terrified me.

Riley is six. A young six. A quasi-immature six who is fiercly independent and brave. He also, typical of most six-year-old boys, has delusions of grandeur about his own physical capabilities, from climbing on shed roofs to drinking a litre of softdrink and not expecting any craziness to ensue (he is always in Husband's care when this sort of thing happens, not mine).

For weeks now, Riley has come for a drive in the car to our local shops, past his school, and he has said this to me: "Mum, I could walk to school. I could walk home from school."

"No, darling," I have said. "It's too far. There's too many hills. Mummy walked it once and it took me 25 minutes, a sore big toe, a hairy-major-roundabout crossing and lots of rocks in my shoes. You're only six and it's too far."

Not according to Riley, who today decided to skip the busline and start walking home. Unbenownst to me. Unbenownst to anyone - except himself.

At 10 minutes past three, I received a rapid knock at the door. It was a neighbour and mum of Riley's friend and busmate, asking me if I had picked up Riley. No, I hadn't. She then told me she had been to the school to pick up her own son and had seen Riley wandering through the local shops near the school. Thinking I had picked him up myself, she drove home, then thought she'd check on me, just in case.

Thank goodness she did. When she told me this, my heart flew into my throat and "Mum, I could walk home from school" echoed in my ears.

I was in the car like a shot (knowing Ella would be home momentarily), scouring the streets for my baby, and sure enough, there he was, walking up the big hill alone. I pulled over and he jumped when he saw me. I cried. It was really pathetic. Then I got him in the car and I cried some more.

I think he's horrified. Especially because I rang the school, who are looking into the incident. I've talked with both Ella and Riley about how important it is to make sure both of them are on the bus (Ella is usually pedantic about such things, but got carried away gossiping with a friend), and to report anyone missing to a teacher.

After a spate of near-abductions of elementary school children in our city, this was a terrifying few moments of my life - and Lord only knows how Riley crossed that massive, high-speed roundabout. Thank goodness he is safe, and this event serves as a timely reminder that it only takes the smallest idea in the head of a child to compromise their safety.

Not to mention their mother's sanity.


Emma Davidson said...

My heart was in my throat reading this. So glad it all turned out fine! I hope you keep a copy of this post for Riley to read when he's going through those horrid teenage years and needs reminding of how caring his mother is.

TB said...

Oh My Dear Friend!
You poor girl . . . oh that little man of yours . . . such a kindred spirit I see in him. I think I may see that streak in a couple of years! Bless his heart and your for still beating! SO HAPPY to hear he is okay! (and I hope he never does that again!) T

Tiny Concept said...

I am so glad to hear Riley is OK. What a terrifying experience - this is one of my worst nightmares - hopefully nothing like this happens again.

Mee a Bee said...

Reading this has made me cry too.

Something like this happened to us once. It was TERRIFYING. So glad he's OK.

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