Today at 3:15pm my heart stopped beating for a moment. Not only my heart, but the hearts of hundreds of mothers around the St. Louis area stopped, too. That’s when many of us began hearing that 18-month-old* Tyler Dasher, a little boy the same age as my Boogie, was taken from his crib in the middle of the night and the police were searching for him.
Bits of information, the color of his pajamas, his blanket, anything that might help the search began furiously circulating on social media and local news outlets.
I can’t tell you how many times I have awoken in a panic to find the clock reading 9:30am, realizing I didn’t wake up to Boogie’s special brand of morning screeches. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare-something happens in those few, vulnerable hours when you aren’t there to stop it. Call it new parent panic, or just being a parent, it’s the kind of thing that keeps you up at night.
Tears burned my eyes just a few hours later when I noticed updates about the case had stopped scrolling across the bottom of my screen. The SARAA alert had been called off. I dreaded every second I watched the screen as I hit rewind, finally seeing those last few scrolling sentences say they had identified the body found near the boy’s home as Tyler’s.
I grabbed Boogie tight, gave her as many kisses as I could until she head-butted the bridge of my nose nice and good, and decided this…
Never will I ever take for granted that you will be there when my work is through.
Never will I ever promise a moment to someone who won’t appreciate it the way you would.
Never will I ever feel it can’t get any worse when I can hear your giggles.
Never will I ever take one smile, one moment, one day for granted. Not as long as I am your mommy and you are my Boogie.
My gratitude mixes with pain as my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the mother and family who are today facing their worst nightmare.
**Updated at 10:02pm, Tyler was actually 13-months-old at the time of his murder, not 18 months as I had originally read.