There's been a ton of national and local news focus on the mysterious disappearance of Kyron Horman, a little boy whose family lives here in Portland and Medford, Oregon. There are daily updates on our local news stations, quite often around the time my two grandboys arrive in the morning. Dylan, who's old enough to understand something's wrong, is especially affected by the story. When Kyron first disappeared from the school he attended and the search for him was at its most intense, huge military helicopters flew low over our house as they headed up in to the West Hills to help. Between the noise, the sight, and the way they made our whole house vibrate I think that's something Dylan will always associate with this little boy's tragic tale. Now, every time any kind of helicopter flies by, Dylan turns to me from watching out the front windows and asks, "Is that helicopter looking for the lost boy, Gram?" "Stranger Danger" and keeping close to us adults whenever we're out in public has truly become a reality for my four-year-old grandson.
I had promised the boys last week we'd take the bus downtown to feed the birds in the park across the street from the court house. Yesterday was the day, and when we were done we meandered around for a while, taking in the sights and doing some major people watching. As we passed in front of the court house to go to McDonald's on 6th a large contingent of news reporters and camera people were stationed outside the front doors. It's always rather surreal to see 'real' reporters face-to-face...they 'come in to our homes' on an almost-daily basis and we almost feel as if we know them. Then, to see them in their human form, you realize that nope, we don't know them that well after all...just their faces. Dylan walked up to one of the lady reporters and asked her, "Are you looking for that little lost boy?" She told him yes, she was.
We were too early for lunch at McDonald's so I told the boys we'd stop at a Burger King after we got off the bus near home. As we were sitting there eating all of a sudden Dylan shot out of the booth and went running across the restaurant, pointing excitedly and yelling, "There's the little lost boy, Gram! LOOK!" and as I followed the direction he was pointing, sure enough: a huge billboard with Kyron's grinning face along the street. "Is he found yet?"
No, darling Dylan, who worries about all the hurt and scared and lost. How I wish I could tell him Kyron's home safe where he belongs. How I wish I could tell him that all little kids have happy homes. Parents who have their acts together. Security. A home that's a haven from all the world's uncertainty and chaos.
But I can't. No matter how much I wish I could. Because he thinks Grandma has the answer to everything, and sadly I don't. I hate disappointing him.