Come on Erin, What REALLY Happened With The Silver Alert?

Last night at work I had a friend ask me, “What REALLY happened with the Silver Alert?” (Thank you Michele for inspiring me to finally write about this)

At the time my son, Marc, was missing, my ex-husband was calling me and telling me not to post about our son, Marc, on my Facebook or my blog. After twenty years of being told what I should and could, or could not do, I cowered and complied.

I am not proud that he still has the ability to shut me down.

After the fact, I ended up writing a post on my blog about Marc being missing and how I wanted to lose weight. Probably the worst post I have ever written… nonetheless, I was in a bad head-space and I posted it anyway, not wanting to reveal any details as my ex-husband had instructed.

Marc loves his dad and is very protective of him. No matter what John and I do for Marc, we will never be able to give enough for Marc to accept John and I as a couple.

Fifteen is a tough age. I remember it all too well. I remember feeling that I was as big in stature as most adults… and also feeling that I knew it all and could do anything that adults do.

This combination leads to some pretty bad decision-making on the part of a fifteen year old.

I know it all too well, yet as a parent it doesn’t make it any easier.

Prior to the actual Silver Alert, Marc was making comments for weeks about going to live in New York.

I called my ex-husband.

“Marc is saying that he’s moving to New York.” I stated.

“Don’t worry about it Erin,” He replied, “Marc has no money to get there. He’s just talking. Let it go.”

And, I did.

Until Marc came in my room to borrow my computer and check the train schedule.

I sent a text to his father, who replied, “Don’t worry. He’s just talking shit.”

I knew that Marc didn’t have the money to leave the state, so I just chalked it up as an attempt to get under my skin and I let it go, as my ex had instructed.

I returned from work on a Friday night and Marc was gone. I questioned his brothers who told me that Marc was in New York with his friend Angel who lived in the Bronx.

I was surprised but comforted that they knew where Marc was.

Angel is my Landlord’s nephew. I knew that Marc was safe and I was ready to ride out the latest chapter in parenting a teen who was irreversibly affected by both domestic violence and divorce.

I worked a double on Saturday, feeling a bit out of sorts. I checked with Rocky and Kevin who both told me that Marc would be home on Sunday night and at school Monday morning.

Saturday night I awoke from a deep sleep in the middle of the night. I walked into Marc’s room. I had no idea why I did, but I have become in tune with my sixth sense.

The room was dark and empty. I glanced at the entertainment center and confirmed the reason that I had gotten up in the first place… both his T.V. and PlayStation were gone.

“John!” I yelled, “Marc hocked his T.V. and PlayStation. They’re gone. He’s not coming home.”

I was petrified and full of fear.

I began to cry.

That turned out to be a long night of tears, worry and no sleep.

On Sunday, Marc texted me saying that he was hungry and wanted some food.

“Where are you Marc?” I texted in reply.

“In the Bronx with Angel.” Marc replied, “Can you send me some pizza?”

Part of me felt like not enabling him and letting he deal with the decisions he made. The mother in me couldn’t stand the thought of eating without knowing that my child had been fed.

“Call me.” I texted, “I need the address where you are so I can send the pizza.

My cell phone rang.

“Mom, I’m almost out of minutes. Here’s the address. Please send me something to eat. I’m starving.”

I dialed the number Marc had given to me and placed an order for wings, two pizzas, cinnamon sticks and a bottle of soda, as I listed off what I thought to be the delivery address.

The woman at Domino’s Pizza put me on hold for a ridiculous amount of time.

Finally she returned to the phone.

“Ma’am, the address that you gave me is our address.” She stated, “”Do you still want me to go through with the order?”
“Yes,” I replied. “My son will come and pick it up. I said realizing that Marc must be in walking distance of this Dominos.

“I ordered the food,” I texted Marc when his order had been placed.

“Thank you, Mom. I’m not coming back home.” He said, “I’m almost out of cell phone minutes and I’m going to live with a friend in Manhattan who used to go to my school. His family owns a restaurant and I’m going to wait tables.”

“Marc, you’re fifteen. What do you know about waiting tables?” I yelled, “You have school tomorrow!”

Marc hung up.

Talk about stress.

I should have never listened to my ex… if this kid runs out of phone minutes, I’ve lost him.

“Okay, we’re going to the police station now!” I yelled, as John hurriedly got his shoes on and grabbed his car keys.

Kevin flew into the room.

“Mom, my girlfriend Anna is on the way here to meet the family for the first time! Please don’t involve the police! We have to pick her up at the train station in forty-five minutes… how long is this going to take at the police station?” He pleaded.

“Kevin, your brother is missing! Anna is just going to have to get used to our crazy lives. I have to go, I’m worried about Marc.” I said, as I rushed out  of the front door.

Once at the police station, I realized that I had to pee.

“I’m going to the bathroom.” I told John.

“Okay.” He said, sitting in a chair in the waiting room, settling in for the long haul.

When I returned a few minutes later, another person was at the window, stating their complaint.

“Seriously John, we are supposed to meet Kevin’s girlfriend for the first time. Couldn’t you have taken the next spot in line while I had to pee?” I asked in desperation.

“I didn’t know what you wanted me to do.” John replied.

I sighed and took a seat in a hard chair in front of the vending machines.

The person next up at the window, (Not us of course) rattled off his name, date of birth and street address for all to hear, as we sat in the lobby.

“Did he just say that he lives on the same street as we do?” I whispered to John.

“Yes.” John whispered in reply.

What are the odds, I mumbled.

“I don’t know why you couldn’t have taken the next place in line while I was in the bathroom.” I said, annoyed and as stressed as I could possibly be, “We have to pick Anna up from the train station in less than forty-five minutes and I’m sick to my stomach about Marc.”

The guy on the same street as us began to file his complaint.

“I believe that someone shot a beebee gun at the siding on my house. There is a dent to prove it.” He said, as if it was the most important crime of the century.

It took all of the strength that I could muster not to yell, “MY CHILD IS MISSING AND ALMOST OUT OF PHONE MINUTES! IF I DON’T ACT FAST I CAN LOSE HIM FOREVER!”

But I sat quietly, rolling my eyes.

Finally it was our turn at the window.

I had the chance to vent and tell my story about my missing fifteen year old son and my emotions began to get the better of me.

The officer told me to please take a seat, and I complied.

I was worried for Marc.

I felt bad that I was ruining Kevin’s girlfriend’s first visit.

I was afraid and I wanted someone, anyone, to tell what to do.

Behind closed doors, I heard the officers talking about who was going to take what case.

I held my head in my hands, tapping my foot as I waited for my name to be called.

“Mrs. Reed.” The officer said as he lead us to a private room.

“So was it a toss-up between who took the dented siding and who took the missing child case?” I asked in jest.

“Actually, it was.” The officer laughed.

“Well I think that you might have drawn the short straw.” I said, as I began to fill him in on all of the details.

Before long, both my strength and my sense of humor began to fall by the wayside as I was overcome with fear and concern.

After I answered all of the questions, I sat and cried.

My fifteen year old son was in a bad section of the Bronx and he was telling me that he wasn’t coming home. He was almost out of phone minutes and I had no idea what I would do if I lost all contact with him.

“Where did you send the pizza?” The officer asked.

I gave him the address of Domino’s Pizza which I knew was in walking distance of where my son was.

“At this point, we have to file a Silver Alert.” He replied, “He’s only fifteen years old.”

“A Silver Alert?” I asked, “Can I call my eighty-two year old mother before she sees it on TV?”

“You can.” He replied, “And you probably should. It’s just procedure, but the alert will be on television, radio and social media, nationwide.”

I called my mother and broke the news.

My mother was so distressed.

And just for the record, that conversation alone broke my heart.

The police contacted my son on the few minutes that he had left on his cell phone and made sure that he was on the next train and on his way home.

My ex-husband retrieved Marc from the train station and the police met them at my house.

Marc was home and safe…

Angry about the police involvement.

Angry with me.

But home (thank God) nonetheless.

Anna embraced the situation for what it was and took it all in stride.

I like that Anna.

I guess if you’ve never been there, you will never know what it’s like to deal with not only your own, but everyone else’s growing pains, confusion, longing for affirmation through love and attention, and the need to heard.

I get it.

Life is hard and beautiful all at the same time.

Face your fears,

Let go of your judgement,

Don’t be afraid to call on your humor,

And live through your heart.

It will never let you down yet.

I have made it this far and for the grace of God, so will my kids.

Keep fighting the good fight… it’s always worth it in the end.

Erin Cooper Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lobster Tale

When I was in high school, I had a classmate whose family owned a local fish market. They were known for selling the freshest seafood at affordable prices and it didn’t hurt they were the only game in town.

I enjoy seafood, and I absolutely love lobster.

One day I was talking to two of my girlfriends about how much I love lobster… hot and dripping in butter… a salad and a baked potato – pure heaven.

We were all in agreement about the pure heaven part and before we knew it, I was driving my baby blue Chevy Chevette to the fish market so we could score some lobster.

It is easy to cook, right?

I mean, just boil it.

It is sort of sad, though, don’t they scream?

We talked the entire way there, feeling rather adult-like while convincing ourselves we could certainly prepare a delicious lobster dinner.

Once inside the fish market we were taken aback by the overpowering smell. Okay, so fish smell… but lobster dinner, totally worth it.

We selected three lobsters with the care one takes in purchasing a new vehicle (not that I would, I mean, I owned a Chevette!) and smiled as we handed over our hard-earned cash.

They gave us a brown paper bag containing the lobsters and not one of us extended an arm to grab it.

“Well somebody has to hold it!” I announced, “I have to drive.”

Reluctantly one of my friends finally grabbed the bag and carried it at arm’s length, as if it contained a boa constrictor.

She placed the bag on the back seat, I started the car and we were on our way.

We were laughing and talking, as teenage girls do, giddy with excitement over the feast  we were soon to prepare.

“How long do you think we have to boil them for?” I asked.

“Until they’re red.” My friend in the passenger seat replied.

Suddenly, my friend in the back seat let out a blood-curdling scream.

I slammed on the brakes right in the middle of Route 1, a busy, well-traveled road.

“They’re getting out of the bag!” She yelled as she swung open the car door.

We all screamed in unison and fled the vehicle leaving all of the car doors open.

“Oh my God! What are we going to do?” My friend yelled.

“I’m not picking them up!” I said, as I felt a shiver run down my spine.

Cars were stopped behind us as the people driving in the lane to the left of us slowed down to see what all of the commotion was about.

“They’re trying to crawl into the front seat!” My friend bellowed, and we all started to shriek again.

I was panicked about the loose lobsters in my car. I liked them better when they were in the bag, which I intended to dump them from into a boiling pot of water I thought as I saw the flashing lights of the cop car behind us.

The officer approached and asked, “Is everything okay? Are you broken down?”

“No, officer.” I replied.

“You can not stop and abandon your vehicle in the middle of a busy road like this,” he instructed.

“Well, the lobsters are out of the bag,” my friend stated, looking like she was going to start to cry.

The traffic was mounting around us.

The officer looked into the vehicle. He never even asked to see my license or registration.

He simply picked up the lobsters, put them back into the brown paper bag and rolled up the top.

“Go straight home,” he said, and we got back into the car.

I never drove so carefully or with as much anxiety, as I did that day.

We cooked the lobsters, dumping them straight from the bag into the pot of boiling water and they were as delicious as we had imagined they would be…

To this day, I have never purchased another live lobster from a fish market, and not because I wouldn’t like to.

I just think that it would be better if I got them an UBER.

Just sayin…

My Life I Swear

 

 

 

 

 

Infertility: It Sucks! No Argument There. How I Found Some Humor Just To Get By

My ex-husband and I had decided to wait five years before we started our family. After one full year of trying to conceive our first child, we were faced with the reality that we had an infertility problem. The closer that I crept to the “Big 30”, the more I began to panic.

My OBGY did the blood work and ran all of the necessary tests. I felt like a human pin cushion and went from passing out when having blood drawn, (And coming to, underneath the chair I had been sitting in) to taking every needle like a champ. I was so proud of myself even though I secretly cringed over every baby shower invitation that I got, as I fought to hold back my tears.

If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m taking about.

Then it came time to check if ex-husband’s reproductive system was functioning properly. The doctor explained that not only did my ex-husband’s sperm sample have to be driven and dropped off a lab 30 minutes away, but it also had to be kept warm.

At this point I wanted a baby so desperately, I would have done basically anything asked of me to make motherhood a reality.

What I didn’t consider, was that my ex-husband would have to go from the doctor’s office straight to work… and that would mean that I would be the one transporting the container of sperm.

“Okay, give me the address and I’ll bring it.” I said to the doctor.

She quickly scribbled down the address, handed me some paperwork and said, “Keep the container against your body, it has to stay warm. Go straight there and get there as soon as possible.”

I was as nervous carrying this thick, lidded plastic container as I would have been holding my fragile offspring for the first time… and actually, I somehow felt like I was  responsible for transporting half of my unborn child.

What to do? I was wearing a short, tight T-shirt and a pair of size 3 jeans. I pulled out the front waistband and tucked, what could be my future child, snuggly into the front of my pants.

The container was rather large in circumference and was totally visible, protruding from my jeans.

Oh, well. I thought, I’ll just have to get it there as fast as I can. No detours. No stops. Straight to the lab.

My heart was racing as I buckled my seatbelt and began to drive.

At every red light I looked down to make sure that the container was secure and intact. A half an hour ride seemed torturous under the circumstances. I was a third of the way to my destination when I realized that I was lost. (These were pre-GPS and cell phone days and I was on edge every minute of the long ride.)

Breathe. Focus. Drive. Hurry. Get there. You’re doing great I told myself.

Until… I saw the flashing red lights in my rear-view mirror.

“Oh, God. Please tell me I am NOT getting pulled over!

Image result for images of police sirens during the day

Sigh. Yes, I am.

I pulled at my shirt.

Why did I wear this short, tight shirt today, of all days, I thought, as I moved my car to the side of the road and put it into park.

The officer approached the car as I slowly lowered the window.

“License and registration.” A deep voice ordered.

Just my luck. Why couldn’t it have been a female cop?

My hands were shaking as I passed my identification and registration through the window. Oh, God. I’m loosing precious time, I thought, as I rubbed both of my hands across my forehead.

I knew that the cop was just doing his job and running my license and registration, yet it seemed like an eternity.

I nervously re-adjusted my pants.

There was a tap on the window.

“You do know that you were going 35 in a 25 mile zone?” He stated and questioned at the same time.

“I’m not sure.” I stuttered, feeling like I was going to throw up.

“Ma’am, what is that you’re concealing in your pants?” He asked.

I froze and I could feel my face turning both hot and red. I didn’t reply.

“I asked you a question.” He said before adding, “Please step out of the vehicle.”

I complied as my heart rate accelerated and I felt my insides twist.

Is he going to arrest me? I thought. Oh, my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. How am I going to explain this to the cop, or worse yet, to my parents?

I slowly opened the passenger door.

“Stand against the car and remove the concealed container.” He ordered.

“I can’t.” I stated, while I refrained from saying, over my dead body!

“Ma’am, I pulled you over for speeding and I don’t think that you also want to be charged with refusal to cooperate with an officer.” He stated.

“Look. I know this sounds crazy… but I’m just trying to have a baby and… well, we’re having some infertility problems. My doctor asked me to drive my husband’s sperm specimen to the lab and get it there quickly. I am refusing to take it out of my jeans because I have to keep it warm. If you want to arrest me, then arrest me… but please do it after I get my husband’s sperm to the lab.” I pleaded.

An expression crossed over the officer face like my story trumped the ticket he was going to give me. I’m sure that back at the police station, the officers love to exchange stories to see who can top all of the rest for the most outrageous or original situation of the day. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that my ordinary traffic stop propelled him into first place.

“What’s the address that you’re going to?” He asked with a new demeanor.

I retrieve the crinkled paper from my car and handed it to the officer.

“Follow me. ” He said with a smile.

I may be the first or only woman to have a police escort to deliver her husband’s sperm to a lab, but I honestly don’t know for sure.

But I do know this… it was all worth it and I would do it a hundred times over to have my son, Kevin.

There is no greater joy on this earth than being a mom!

This post is dedicated to a very dear friend and her husband, that I love deeply. They are struggling with infertility and enduring much more than a possible speeding ticket. I won’t divulge either of their names, but I ask that you take a moment and say a prayer that God blesses them with a healthy, beautiful baby in their near feature.

Much love,

Erin Cooper Read

My Life, I Swear

Where Are You? It’s Late.

I spent the last six weeks in bed recovering from a torn, ACL, MCL, meniscus and a stress fracture down my right shin. In that time, I have finagled my bills, worried a lot and took myself to the depths of despair.

I  am yet to have surgery, but went back to work to bring an income into my household. After returning from work tonight, John and I decided to just get in the car and grab a little alone time.

Ten missed calls later, on each of our phones, I received a text from my teenage son that read, “Where are you, it’s late?”

Are you flipping kidding me? Do you understand how many nights I cried in my pillow worrying about your safety and your whereabouts until the sun came up?

I have spent six weeks in bed, and just for the record, I haven’t had a vacation in 5 years and it is blatantly obvious that I never go anywhere.

Where in the world do you get off telling me that I’m late?

I appreciate the concern, but my teenagers have led me to the total brink of destruction and have no idea the heartache their actions caused.

Wasn’t it only last week that I added a Silver Alert to my unknown bucket list which included:

A visit to my home, from:

The DCF

Channel News 12

A Military Investigation

The local police

And, well can I say…It’s never boring here…by any means.

So, before any of my son’s put out the Silver Alert on me, just know that I am home safely and I just wanted a little breathing space.

And, just for the record….

Sorry I’m late.