The agency where I work becomes a ghost town nearly every Friday. Most of the programs finish up on Thursdays and Fridays are to either catch up on paperwork or flex out if one has reached their maximum hours for that pay period.
This past Friday was no exception. When I got to work around one thirty the place was nearly empty. I ran into my boss as he was leaving. We talked for a minute and then he remembered that he needed something out of the locked kitchen. We hunted down the chef (who usually never works past noon on Fridays) to get a key, and together we walked down the long, deserted hallway.
Just as we went through a set of heavy double doors we saw a little tiny boy toddling toward us. Although none of us spoke this thought, we all were expecting to see a mommy (or a big sister or brother) round the corner behind the fast walking child. The gap between us was closing and it quickly became apparent that there was not anyone with this baby.
The small brown haired boy clutched a tattered blue waffle blanket which he held up against his cheek. He barely looked at us as he started to pass us by.
This was a man on a mission.
"Hey" I called out to him "Are you looking for Mommy”?
He little head bobbed up and down.
“I can help you find her” I said, hoping to reassure him.
I held out my hand. He looked down at it and then up at me. His big round brown eyes starting to pool.
“Can I hold your hand?” I asked.
He shook his head no.
“Well” I said, “you are right to say no. You shouldn’t hold hands with a stranger”.
My boss and the chef took off in different directions looking for Mommy. I walked with the boy down the center hallway of the building.
“Do you know your Mommy’s name?” I asked.
“Uh-huh” he said quietly, shaking his head up and down.
“What is it?” I asked. “What is your mommy’s name?"
“It’s Mommy”, he said with a lisp.
“Why of course” I said, “Your mommy’s name is Mommy”.
Just then one of the doors of the gym swung open hard and behind it was my boss and a very worried looking man.
“Daddy” the boy yelled.
Daddy explained that he was a volunteer painting the gym. He brought his young son with him and when the boy got tired he laid him down for a nap on one of the little cots and got to work. The group of volunteers were listening to music and talking while they painted. Daddy said that when he glanced over at the cot to check on his sleeping baby he discovered the boy was gone. Daddy had been all over the building looking for the little explorer. He'd run back to the gym to see if he'd been found, just as my boss was in there asking if anyone was missing a baby.
I never thought to teach my kids my name. I guess I just assumed that they knew what it was.
This story is for all of you who go by the name Mommy.