Jake has been in the half-day Leapfrog program for the past three weeks. Jane and Michelle took turns driving him and watching him in the afternoon. On Friday, Jane had to go to an event in the afternoon and Michelle went to Six Flags with her friend’s family. I was working from home while keeping an eye on Jake.

Around 4:30 pm, I told my little boy that I was going to run on the treadmill for 45 minutes. He asked if he could watch TV. “One episode,” I replied. So I got on the treadmill in my room and turned on the TV to high volume.

Jake came in fifteen minutes later with a box and a grin. “Delivery for you, mom!”

“Thank you, Jakey!”

Jake left the box on my bed and left.

5:15 pm, I went back to the study room to wrap up my work. Something didn’t feel right – the house was way too quiet.

“Jakey!” I called out.

No response.

I went to the kitchen to see if he was playing with his toys there. He wasn’t.

“Jacob, where are you?” I ran upstairs hoping to find him in his room.

He wasn’t in the playroom in the basement either. I started to panic.

He opened the door to pick up the delivery box. Did he then go to the mailbox and something happened?

I opened the front door and rushed out. There was no sign of my precious boy. The mail was still in the mailbox. My heart sank.

I called Joe on the cell phone, “I don’t know where Jake is … I can’t find him anywhere …” I could no longer contain my emotion.

“Where are you?”


“Then it should be okay … Maybe he went to Nick’s house … Have you checked there?”

“No.” Jake wouldn’t wander off to Nick’s house without telling me. Maybe I didn’t hear him with the both the treadmill and TV on.

I walked over two doors and rang the doorbell. My neighbor’s older son opened the door.

“Did Jake by any chance come to your house?”

He shook his head.

His dad emerged at the door.

“I am looking for Jake. He isn’t in the house. I thought he might have come here.”

“No, he didn’t. I’ll get Nick and we’ll help you look for him.”

“I’ll go through the house one more time …” I turned around and my heart sank lower.

“Jacob … Jacob … JACOB …” I frantically ran up and down in my house, knowing in my heart that he couldn’t be inside.

As I came down from his room, I noticed Jane’s bag and high heels at the bottom of the stairs.

“Jane, are you home?”

No response.

Did Jane just come home and leave again?

I called Jane. She picked up after a few rings.

“Jane, do you know where Jake is?” My heart was racing so fast that I could hear it pounding against my chest, and my voice trembling. I knew if the answer was no, the next call would have be to the police station, and I’d immediately search every inch of the neighborhood for my boy.

“He is here with me.” Jane answered cautiously.

I took a deep breath. “Where are you?”

“At Hmart, getting the ingredients for the rice cake recipe.”

“Next time you take Jake out of the house, please let me know. I’ve been looking all over the place for him. I didn’t know you had been home.”

“Oh, sorry! I thought you heard me talking to Jake. He said he was going to talk to you when I went upstairs to change.”

I put down the phone and started sobbing. The idea of losing my boy was terrifying and upsetting and it lingered throughout the rest of the day.

Yesterday we enjoyed another wonderful family outing. We planned to go to the North Ave. beach in downtown Chicago, but it was a bit chilly. So we ended up heading back to Indiana for blueberry picking. This time there were more ripe ones and they tasted sweeter. As we were laughing and talking in the car, I felt enormously grateful for the togetherness of my family. Jake’s laughter in particular was music to my ears.