At times you wonder why you are where you are, and then, you see.
At a cafe in Italy, exhausted from travel, my son heard a child cry. He pointed.
she was running through the crowded street. “She’s crying, mommy. And she looks lost.”
I saw her, but the shop owners did too, and so did the others at the restaurants and cafes. No one seemed concerned. Just another child crying. The little girl ran and ran, and finally disappeared into a Venetian doorway. We were seconds from a canal, and the girl was no more than three. It was night, and she was clearly confused.
Something instinctively rose inside me. “She’s lost,” my child had said, and I knew he was right. I left the table and ran until I found the little girl sitting in a doorway with her head down, sobbing.
If you’ve ever been lost, at any age, you know that helpless feeling. I scooped her up into my arms. She wore pigtails, and was gasping for breath.
“Where’s your mommy?” I asked.
“My,” gasp, mom-my gasp is gasp going to ..the train!..”
I looked her in the eye. “It’s okay. I promise. I PROMISE you I’ll find your mommy.”
I’ve been in that situation before, where I didn’t have the right words to comfort a child, and didn’t know what to do next. In those situations, where there’s need, it’s a struggle to find the right words. But taking the first small step anyways, is important.
We did find her mother and father, who were frantic, panicked, and grateful. It was an emotional moment. They were tourists, and had taken their eye off of their 3 year old for only a moment. Or so they thought. It was enough of a moment for her to disappear.
They took photos with us, to celebrate the moment. Have you ever wondered if you were in the right place, and then later you discovered you had been all along? Sometimes, it’s just not about us.
Days before our trip I’d read about Madeline McCann, the little girl lost on holiday in Portugal,
and it had been lodged in my mind, to keep a keen eye. Be aware. Would I have been so inspired to see this child as lost, while the world saw her as just another crying child, if I hadn’t spent hours in bed in London reading those news articles? Somehow some writer, wrote about a lost little girl, and it stuck in my mind, until that moment.
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