After writing and reading the story about Peter's Sunday excursion around the Forest Park neighborhood, and his eventual return, my heart skipped a beat. Living through Peter's runaway events, his running through airports, and his total LOST experience was part of our life. It was what it was. Although, hours were sent explaining the whys of not losing one's family, our approach became a matter of attempting to be proactive. We put locks and hooks on doors where Peter could not reach...actually, if you walked through my house today, you would see the remnants of leftover locks, hooks, and reversed locks which had been installed in order to prevent a potential disastrous runaway. The family all put on a daily game face, we had a plan, a loosely developed plan of what we would do when we could not find Peter. Because of this extremely frequent occurrence, it appeared as if we were in some drill, a drill that had been conjured up over time by actually seeking out Peter. My voice, serving as the bell or siren, called out to Sara, Mike and the neighborhood children to start the search, as if programed, they stopped their play, whether it was soccer, or swinging on the play set, or maybe a friendly game of playing house in the backyard shed, whatever these children were engaged, they stopped, with no questions asked, and started of in the various directions in search of the lost child, of course, unbeknownst to him. He did not have any conception that he was lost and was in need of being found.
The changes a child with special needs has on one's family is profound. These changes sneak up with really such subtly that one doesn't even noticed. One is only reacting to the effect of the child in order to adjust, survive, or cope. We, as a family, did just that. We, changed our lifestyle, in order to meet the needs of Peter. It was a daily education and the book was written, the rules, the guidelines were posted as we went along. Most of the time, it was a guess. What did not work on the particular day, may work tomorrow, or maybe was never a good idea.
Peter's antics effected all of us. But, when it came to his Speedy Gonzalos moves, we devised our own way of coping. Reflecting, was it the best? Probably not, really, a good fence may have been the answer to solve the daily problem of running. At that time, that was not the answer. A fence in our neighborhood was unheard of that time, now, everyone has fences. A fence at that time was also cost prohibitive.
I know we tried the best we could. I know God gave us patience, good neighbors, and a large dose of overseeing...of course, He always was aware of Peter's wear abouts! I think of Peter, who on the major LOST day, when we found him acted as if he was being picked up by strangers, and Peter now, who hugs and appreciates his family. Peter, who now can go on trips and stays with his group. Who during his growing years learned to stay closer, that family is a "good thing".
Could someone have given us a book on how to raise this child...maybe? I can now look back and say I would not change a thing, there is a reason how this developed and formed. In the midst of the "battle", the growing, sure there were painful days and many tears, but I never lost Peter...not permanently, although, reading and reflecting I do believe...that was nothing short of a miracle!!!