I know about Adam Walsh and I've known about the Adam Walsh law for many years now. And I know what it means when a "Code Adam" is put in place. I do. But I've never, ever seen one or experienced one. Until last night.
I was shopping at our local grocery store, about to leave the checkstand area when I heard over the loud speaker, "CODE ADAM! CODE ADAM! ALL ASSOCIATES PROCEED FORWARD FOR A CODE ADAM! TWO YEAR OLD FEMALE!!"
And I froze. I knew what it meant.
Immediately, but calmly I might add, the store employees moved. I remained in my spot and watched.
One young man headed straight to the front doors where the shopping carts were and he began checking each little "car" attached to the baskets. Logical, I thought. A kid might wander over to those.
I realized at that point that all the store's doors had just been locked, too. No one could enter, no one could leave. I wasn't going anywhere. But it was okay, I was still frozen in my shoes. I caught the eye of the young man checking the shopping carts and I said, "Scary." He ignored me and began "sweeping" the front of the store.
I turned around and saw a lady in gray sweatpants running up and down each aisle of the store... and that's when I lost it. I began to shake and the tears started coming. I felt her pain. I SO felt her pain. I've never lost my child but I had imagined many times how I would feel if that had happened to me.
It was only a few minutes later that I heard the "All clear - She has been found" and I was allowed to proceed to my car. But I was still shaking. I was suddenly freezing. And I did not stop crying until I had gotten home. And then I cried some more. I think every emotion I've suppressed was suddenly bubbling near the top.
And I remembered how I felt when I thought Rick was going to die. And I remember how alone I felt when I was told there was nothing more they could do for him.
It was one of those nights. I was happy I had spaghetti on the back burner because I needed some comfort food last night...