When I was submitting the other story about when my cousin Mel was born, I remembered another incident when I was a little older with my cousin Madison. Now all I can think about are the different things I've experienced with all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles - and just how many experiences that is! I have 5 aunts and uncles, 11 cousins, 15 second cousins, and 1 third cousin. Ahh ~ the love of big families! But I digress.
When my brother and I started getting older, my grandma and grandpa decided we could start taking trips to Portland for the day. We went 2-3 times a summer and would just spend the whole day walking around the nicer parts of Portland, playing in the parks, or riding the ferry. When I was about 12 we decided to go a little earlier than usual. You see, my baby cousin Madi had just turned 7 years old this year and that's when we made our first day trip to the "big city." Aunt Jill had begged us to go early because she wanted Madi to go to Portland's Rose Festival, as her daughter's middles name was Rose.
The night before we were supposed to leave I stayed up in bed trying to get my nerves to go away - I couldn't shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen. Deciding that maybe I was just tired, I rolled over and fell straight to sleep.
I ended up dreaming about our trip the next day. It was so short, but all I can remember is my Aunt Jill crying uncontrollably while all of us called for Madi - looking up and down the train for my, apparently missing, cousin. The next day I told my grandma the dream, and she told me not to worry though she looked a little shaken. She, much like the rest of the family, had come to realize that I always tended to know things before they happened and though she tried to tell me to stop, I couldn't control the dreams and she knew that.
We'd only been on the train for maybe 20 minutes when my brother came walking to where I was sitting with grandma looking incredibly guilty. When asked what was wrong he shook his head and, starting to cry, told us that Madi had gone to the bathroom and when he went to find her she was gone.
I'd felt sick and could only watch as my grandma called an adult who worked on the train over and then she and Aunt Jill split up to look at different ends of the train. I loved my cousin like a sister and so, fearing for her safety and praying we found her okay, went to look myself. I'd only been searching a few minutes when I came to the "Kiddy-Kart" and found myself staring at the back of Madi's head while she built herself a castle out of legos. After everything had been settled and we were all back where we belonged, the train arrived in Portland and we forgot our troubles while enjoying the festivites that were taking place.
At the end of the day, as we got on the train, I can remember being thankful that we'd only lost her for a few minutes and that she'd only been a few feet away from us the entire time. We decided to stick to the original seating arrangements, hopped on the train and headed for home. About halfway there, I remembered that I'd never asked Madi if she had fun - but when I walked to her and Jake's (my brother) spot I quickly realized she wasn't there. When I asked where she was, he looked confused and said he thought she was with us. I panicked and ran to my Aunt Jill to tell her Madi was gone again and that I didn't think she was on the train at all. She started to sob and all I could do was cry as I realized that THIS was the moment I'd seen.
At our request, the workers called the station we'd just left to see if they saw Madi anywhere - my Aunt was inconsolable. When we arrived at the station in our hometown, we hopped on another train and headed straight back to Portland. The ride seemed to take forever and by the time we got back it was dark. We'd searched the entire station and had just walked out when we found Madi sitting on a bench at the park just across the street, waiting with one of the ladies that had been selling roses at the festival. She said she'd called the station to ask if we'd already left and upon hearing we had she'd tried to leave Madi in the security guard's care, but she'd refused to leave her side.
The relief that I felt knowing Madi would be okay is still to this day completely indescribable. That kind lady had given her a rose with a blue satin ribbon around the stem to put her in a better mood, after Madi and Aunt Jill dried it they gave it to me. I insisted I didn't need it, but my aunt said that if she hadn't have had some sort of heads up about what was going to happen she wouldn't have even been able to think - she would've been in too much shock.
I know I didn't do anything, but I kept the rose as requested of me and Madison kept the ribbon. I ended up putting the flower in an art project she'd done with different letter blocks that spelled my name so I would remember how scary it was to think you lost someone you loved very much. I'm just thankful that Madi ended up safe and sound, unlike so many other kids out there.