As Peter was growing up, it was obvious to us that it would take a family to raise Peter and a neighborhood to "pitch in". If asked how many children I had, I would say "three, no make that four, Peter counts as two". When Peter was up, Peter was up and going full force waiting for the perfect opportunity to make an escape or do his "business" as in flushing toilets or exercising the garage door. Sara, being the oldest took on the responsibility without looking back, with no questions asked. Michael, when Peter was born, was still a toddler, not yet three and finding his way. I know, Michael lost some toddler years in there as I sought out help to determine what could be done to "fix" Peter. Can you read the guilt in between the lines? I do remember that Mike never took out any anger or frustration with Peter, and provided him with the rough and tumbly stuff only a brother could add. And, Peter loved it. Peter, would just wait until he could play around with Michael, after all he was his big brother and his favorite brother. Sara, of course, being his favorite sister. That was easy....
When Peter was in his early childhood years, pre-kindergarten, we were invited to a Parent's or Family night at his school. We packed up the van, and headed out to see what Peter was learning. Engrossed in the evening's event, meeting other parents, and keeping track of Peter, we "sort of" lost track of Mike. At that time, Mike was probably in kindergarten or first grade. Mike decided he wanted to check out the other classroom across the hall and started playing with a game in that room. The time came to leave, and the kid's father announced he was leaving. I, assuming, he picked up Mike and took him in his car, gathered up Sara and Peter and we headed home in my van. With three kids, we usually did the divide and conquer, so one would take one child and the other would take two.
Arriving home with Sara and Peter, I again assumed that Mike was taking a shower and was not concerned when I did not see him. You know that saying about "ASSUME', well it is true.After time passed, I asked a question about Mike only to realize that he had not come home with his dad, which was about the same time the principal of Peter's school was calling to tell us we had left a child behind. Now...that was embarrassing..talk about making a good impression with the principal. After, profusely apologizing and explaining that we really were good parents, I know I broke the speed limit to return to the school, which was located a distance from our house.
I arrived at the school, less a speeding ticket ,and there in the doorway, stood Mike, with a good friend or ours, Sue who noticed he was without parents. Sue, calmly reassuring Mike that his mom really did love him, this happens all the time, and your mom will be here shortly. Once again, saved by a helpful hand, a caring person who understood.
So, today, when I see Mike, I will ask him if he was traumatized by the event. I do not recall that lament, MOOOOOM, when I picked him up. But just to make sure....I will ask 20 years later!