Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Losing Bradley

Back when we lived in Pryor Creek, my kids were pretty small.

(I might have mentioned that a time or two before.) We had three kids and a pharmacy and were active in the South Side Christian Church–more than enough for any couple to say grace over.

I said a lot of grace.

Anyway, once when #3 was about two, I’d worked hard at the pharmacy all day dealing with customers, employees, vendors and you name it. G-Man spent his day dealing with sick people and trying to read doctors’ scribbles. (An art in itself!)

I picked the kids up after work, went to the grocery store, then headed home.

It was just warm enough to be uncomfortable. We got home and I unloaded kids, groceries, school books, etc. About the time I got everything into the house, I noticed I hadn’t seen our youngest lately. “Where’s Brad?” I asked Danny, the oldest.

“I don’t know.”

“Have you seen Brad?” I asked Matt, the middle child.


I went through the entire house–the family room, living room, all four bedrooms and the closets. No Bradley.

You know that feeling you get when you can’t find your child? That empty, frantic, I-want-to-have-a-screaming-meltdown-but-I-don’t-have-time panicky feeling? I had it.

“Look for him in the backyard,” I hollered at Danny as I scurried out the front. We looked all around the yard. The neighbors saw us looking and joined in.

One looked along and in the creek and pond across the street from our house (another scary moment when I realized he could be IN the pond, rather than next to it) someone else looked in the other backyards in the neighborhood.

The more we looked, the  more people joined in the search. And the more frightened I was. Finally, the little girl from next door peeked into the van. Not the front of the van–I’d already look in from the windshield–or the middle row of seats, where #3 had been sitting.

She looked in the very, very back, and there sat Brad, with the contents of my purse spread all around him.

I was so relieved, everything inside me just melted. I hugged him until he squealed. “What were you doing in the back of the van?” I asked. “Why didn’t you get out?”

It was very simple. “I wanted some gum.”

The kid figured out that if he found gum in the house, he’d have to share. But if he found it when no one was around, he could chew it all by himself.

He’s no dummy.

That little gum-loving boy is getting married to a sweet young woman in March. She’s smart and pretty and just the girl I would have picked for him if he’d left it up to me.

Don’t they make a beautiful couple? Imagine the gorgeous babies they’ll make (when they get around to giving me grandchildren.) 🙂

The best part about his fiancée? We like her. And we like her family. They’re good people. The kind you can kick off your shoes and have a nice long chat with.

I have to tell you, I’m thrilled that all my boys have girls I adore. Girls that are fun to be with. Girls that fit into our family as if God made that space specifically for them.

I think He did, btw. I prayed for it long enough!

You know what, though? I still miss my sweet babies. :}

Ps: The guy in the red suit isn’t mine.