Or, rather, Rylie lost us.
I wasn’t even there and, yet, I cannot stop thinking about it.
Rylie is a shadow… she sticks close. So close that often I have to physically push her away to make dinner. Read the mail. Take breath. Losing Ry has never been a problem.
There is one things that Ry loves more than her parents, and that is Apple. So when she and Curt went to town on Sunday to fix the disaster that was his iPhone, she was immediately at home with the iPads and the nanos and the iPhones. All those screens. All those those shiny, beautiful screens.
When Curt stepped forward to talk to the salesman, he stepped out of Ry’s line of sight. When he turned around a couple minutes later to do a visual check-in, she was crying.
You know that feeling…
when your kid thinks they’re lost and you know they weren’t really lost but they’re terrified and so you’re terrified for them? It will break your heart. Curt told me that 5-second story as we were falling asleep Sunday night and my heart still aches.
There are days when we completely forget that Rylie cannot talk like the rest of us. Her disability is invisible, and from a distance she looks like every other kid in an Apple store… thrilled. Even the getting lost part… totally normal kid experience, right? Everyone’s been lost at one time or another. It can be easy to forget- we celebrate days we forget– that she’s got this little thing called apraxia!
But then the ending slaps me back into reality. How does my child ask for help? If Curt weren’t there, if I weren’t there, if her teacher her friends her brother weren’t there… how would she tell someone?
She can’t verbalize our last name, our phone number, our address. She just knows she’s supposed to be with us. And so it’s taken 6 years to realize my greatest fear- that her jumbled voice means she literally cannot ask for help. Cannot explain to a stranger why she’s crying. Cannot find her way home. Ry is amazing at getting her point across… but this is one area that is beyond her. Because when you’re afraid or hurt, nothing comes out right… for anyone.
Practically, I need some ideas. Phone numbers in her clothing? A medic-alert bracelet? What? What do you do?
Spiritually, I need some calm. I cannot live every day worried that she will come to harm. The world is a hard place, but Ry brings out the best in it.
Emotionally, I need some courage. Plain, old-fashioned courage to let that girl grow up and walk away from me.
And I’m thinking my neighborhood, my village here, can help me with some of that.