So this is a weird thing.
Riley and Kevin had a race to run together tonight. The kids and I joined them for moral support and good times.
While waiting for them to finish the race we enjoyed the bouncy inflatables set up in the nearby field. As the kids hopped and jumped, I noticed a lady wearing running gear, with her number pinned on, anxiously surveying the scene as her son flitted through the bouncies. She made eye contact with me several times and I just had this odd feeling..... I just expected her to ask me to watch her child.
My mind began swirling. Should I watch this stranger's child for an entire race? How crazy is that? What should I do? What should I say?
Sure enough, she approached me about ten seconds before the gun was scheduled to go off. "Are you going to be here for a while?" she asked.
"Well, no, we aren't really," was my pitiful reply. (And we weren't. Really.)
She then located her little boy, who could not have been older than five at the most, passed him her cell phone and instructed him to call her if he needed her and then walked away. "Stay at the bouncies until I get back. Just stay here," she called to him.
Uh. That wasn't right. What in the world?
So I kept my eyes on the kid as long as we were there. Then Bergen had to use the bathroom. I checked my watch. Noticed what the kid was wearing and took our children to the bathroom. When we walked back, the stranger's son was nowhere. I looked. A lot.
As I led the kids over to the face painting tent, I kept looking. No sight of him.
On to the hot dogs and chips tent. No boy anywhere.
Finally, after the popcorn tent (what a night for our kids!) I saw the little guy. Wandering aimlessly through the field. Eating a bag of popcorn. Alone. With a painted face.
After the race I did see him with his mother and breathed a secret sigh of relief for the danger she had luckily avoided.
But what should I have done? What would have been the right course of action? And what is going on in your mind to leave your kindergartner alone at race with such unpredictable variables?