The Lost Child

Once, in a time not so very long ago, our four-year-old granddaughter was "lost". Her mother looked all through the house for her, calling her name. Then her brother and grandmother each did the same. Then they all went outdoors to find her. Brother went to the neighbors' houses where she often played. Mother looked through the yard and started driving through the neighborhood. When brother came back he came to grandfather and explained what had happened.

Grandfather said "Okay," and brother returned to the search. Grandfather thought of another lost child, the four-year-old's mother; and yet another lost child, himself.

You see, when grandfather was a little boy he once went outside to play. His friends couldn't play that afternoon so he played by himself in his own yard. When it was time for dinner, his mother called for him from the back door. A few minutes passed and he didn't come in, so she called for him from the front door. A few more minutes and she went out to find him; out the back door and looked around the corner of the house into the side yard, and in the garage. Then back through the house, where the great-uncle joined in the search; the two of them out the front door, one to the left and the other to the right -- down the block they went looking, and calling his name, and asking neighbors. As they returned home to telephone for help they continued to call his name. The little boy, who had lain down in the cool grass very close to the side of the house to rest and daydream, heard someone in his dream calling his name. They called again, and again. As he sat up and rubbed the sleepiness from his eyes he saw his great-uncle and his mother coming up the front walk, and they saw him. There were many questions and sighs of relief and hugs.

Years later, the little boy was all grown up and had two little girls of his own. One afternoon the older sister, who was only about three years old, was playing upstairs in her room while her sister and mother were in another room. When the mother went to check on the older sister she didn't see her in her room. She called the little girl's name, but there was no answer. She looked through the bathroom and the other bedrooms, then downstairs through the living room, dining room, and kitchen. She looked out the front door, and then went into the back yard, but still couldn't find the little girl. She called the police to help find her. She called the little girl's father (you remember: the grown-up little boy) and he came to help search. And together they found the missing little girl, curled up under the dresser in her own bedroom, sleeping soundly. Of course, there were many questions and sighs of relief and hugs.

So now, the grandfather, whose grown-up little girl had gone in the car to look for the lost child, got up and went into the little girl's bedroom. He nearly didn't see her slumped over the papers she had been writing on in the almost-hidden corner of the bedroom -- sound asleep. He called her name but she didn't answer, so he went outside and told all the other searchers that she was found. And again there were many questions and sighs of relief and hugs.


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