This moment by far was my scariest moment as a parent. I was more scared than I was during his 11 day stay in the NICU right after his birth. More petrified than the day I got out of the shower to find CJ missing from the living room...the only room he had access too as the rest of the house was gated off. I found him on the balcony trying to water the plants. We're three floors up and he was all of 19 months old at the time. Still, this was scarier.
We live in a condo complex with all the amentities, including a clubhouse for use to reserve for use. We had CJ's 2nd birthday party there. We had finally finished cleaning up afterwards and were bring the last of the items back to the house with CJ in toy. He was holding onto his balloons and I tried to bring him out of the elevator but the door closed in between us. DH put down his small table and chair that he was carrying and ran down to the 2nd floor to get him off there. It didn't open. He called up that he was going further down. I ran down the hall to our unit and put what was in my hands down and grabbed my cell phone, leaving my FIL in the unit alone again. I told him what was going on as I left.
Back out to the elevator I go calling DH to see where he's looked. He had been to every floor and the garage lobby and CJ was no where to be found. I ran down to the outside stairs and went down them to the garage and walked through calling for CJ. Still no CJ. Back to the elevator and nothing. DH had gone off through the paths in the complex to see if he had left the building. I searched the building again floor by floor, stairwell, laundry room...everywhere. Finally I went back to our unit to let my FIL know what was going on. And what do I find when I get there. CJ.
I grabbed him and gave him a big hug. FIL tells me that some man named Mario brought him back a few minutes earlier. DH and I have no idea to this day who Mario is. We said extra prayers that night.
The two things about the incident that truly sucked: FIL never bothered to call when CJ was returned by a stranger. What the hell was he thinking??? The second thing..someone stole CJ's table and chairs from by the elevator where DH had left it when he went down to the second floor to find CJ.
Lesson learned: From the day I always held CJ's hand when leaving the elevator. Now at 5 I have him walk out ahead of me. Second lesson learned: FIL doesn't have a lick of common sense and will never be left alone with my child.