Recently my local MOPS group had an outing to Dearborn Market. There was a hay ride, corn maze, hay maze, stacks to climb and the kids got to pick their own pumpkins. There was a little party afterwards in one of the greenhouses, with juice and cookies for the kids. It was a good time and my kids had a blast! Whenever we can get through an outing like that with no meltdowns it’s a miracle! That day we had nothing but smiling faces. And with my new medication, I was happily watching my kids play with no anxiety. No freaking out if I couldn’t see them for a few seconds, no worrying they’d fall and get hurt. It was amazing. Happy kids, happy mommy.
Until we got back to the car. My son got in, and instead of sitting in his seat, he started looking around with a worried look. “Mommy, where’s Momo?” I think I had one of those terrified, deadpan stares that you see in movies. His favorite monkey blanket, his calming item and favorite buddy in the world was missing. In the biggest maze of a place you could imagine. Staying calm, I brought the kids inside and had someone write down my name and number with a description of his blankie. I hoped for the best and explained to my son that Momo might take a few days to come home.
My boy is getting big now, so he doesn’t have his buddy on him constantly anymore, and he was fine at first. But then life got tough like it does for him, and meltdowns ensued. He cried and cried for Momo and my heart broke. I knew I had to do something. So I decided to do the modern thing, go on Facebook and put up a post asking for help.
Hey everyone! This is gonna seem silly to some people but I’m desperate. I took my kids to Dearborn Market the other day for the whole Hay ride, corn field maze, pumpkin picking thing. Kids had a blast but my son lost his lovey that he’s had since he was born. If he was a ‘regular’ kid with a regular toy, I’d let it go. But my big guy has sensory processing disorder and life is very tough for him sometimes. His little blanket (Momo) is a huge help when he’s having a rough day. It’s his calming item and we are going crazy without it. Dearborn has our info and has promised to call if it’s found, but no luck so far. If anyone happened to see it, please get in touch! My boy is very sad without his Momo.
What came next was not what I expected. People quickly took notice and started offering prayers that we’d find it. People started sharing the post and begging others to help. And I quickly lost count of the amount of employees who took their own time to search the grounds themselves. I was overwhelmed with a sense of compassion and caring from my community on something that I didn’t think many would even notice. My post ended up getting shared over 1300 times by the time I gave up the search.
But in the meantime, my son was hurting. He would cry for his Momo during every meltdown and refused every offer of comfort. His Daddy even came home one day with a similar looking blanket and it was immediately rejected. Sadly, Momo was never found. Instead, we replaced it with the help of more concerned citizens. A dozen of whom had sent me links to find what I was looking for.
During his first meltdown with his new Momo, he had the saddest face and told me, “He’s not the same! I MISS him!” My heart was breaking as I explained that Momo couldn’t come home, so he sent his friend. Eventually, my boy calmed down, stuck his thumb in his mouth and started snuggling the new Momo. And he’s embraced it ever since.
I’ll never forget how a community banned together to help a little boy they didn’t even know. The amazing support I recieved from complete strangers. The feeling of compassion and love in such a hard time from a world that too often doesn’t understand. My little guy went through a very hard time, but I can easily say his Mama was able to keep her head, with so many people behind us, cheering us on and offering help.
And it made me think, for once, maybe us special needs parents aren’t as alone as we thought.