Walking past Young Mom with Baby, Older Lady Hears Lullaby She Wrote for Her Long-Lost Kid — Story of the Day
A woman's daughter vanishes at the age of three in Central Park and for the next 25 years, she searches tirelessly until she hears a young mother singing.
The parents who took their children to the park were often disturbed by the appearance of an older woman who would stare at their children hungrily, then turn her face away in disappointment.
Carol Kincaid had been haunting that park for twenty-five years, and if the happy moms and dads with their toddlers had known her story they would have been even more disturbed and uneasy.
Twenty-five years before, Carol had been one of them, sitting on a park bench, watching her beautiful three-year-old whizzing down the slide and building castles in the sandpit.
But all her happiness and all her tranquility had been swept away in just seven seconds. Carol had been giving her little daughter Amber some juice and when the toddler finished, she had walked to the nearby trash can.
Seven seconds, surely it couldn't have been more? But when she turned around again, Amber was gone. Just gone. No one had seen anything, heard anything.
For days Amber's little face was on every newscast, and the whole world was looking for her. Then, a few weeks later, it seemed that New York moved on. Another child vanished, and Amber was forgotten.
Carol's daughter was just three years old when she disappeared. | Source: Unsplash
Carol's initially supportive friends and family stayed away. It was one thing to help someone through the pain of death, but Amber wasn't dead. Carol was sure Amber wasn't dead, she was just gone.
Carol was suspended in a nightmare. Her pain was constant, agonizing. She couldn't move on from that horrific moment when she turned around and her daughter was gone, she had no closure.
The loss of a child is the greatest pain anyone can go through.
Her marriage fell apart under the strain of Carol's continuing search for her daughter. Her husband called it an obsession, Carol called it a necessity. Couple's therapy didn't work, and so on what would have been Amber's 8th birthday, her parents divorced.
Twenty-five years and Carol was still coming to the same park, standing on the edges of all that happiness and laughter, wondering if her daughter was alright if she was happy if she was even alive.
The police searched everywhere but they couldn't find Amber. | Source: Pexels
Carol was about to walk away when she heard the strains of a familiar melody. A few feet away a young woman was bent over a pram singing to her baby. "Oh little Katy has ten toes, ten teeny tiny toes, Oh little Katy has one nose, one pretty little nose..."
Carol's heart started thumping wildly. She knew that song! She'd made up that little tune and the nonsense lyrics for Amber! It had been her favorite song, and Carol had sung it to her ten times a day!
She took two steps towards the young woman and she looked up. She had wide brown eyes with little gold specks in them. Carol knew those eyes! The woman pushed back a fall of golden hair and smiled.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
Carol haunted the same park, looking for her daughter. | Source: Unsplash
"I was just enjoying watching you with your baby," Carol said, "And remembering when I used to sing to my little girl."
The young woman nodded and smiled but she was clearly uncomfortable under Carol's stare. Carol smiled back and said casually: "Enjoy, they grow up so fast..."
The young woman nodded her agreement and turned her attention back to the pram. It was Amber! Carol knew it was Amber! But could she prove it? She couldn't disrupt this young woman's life without proof.
Then she saw the woman drink from a coffee cup and set it down beside her on the park bench. When she stood up and walked away pushing her pram a few minutes later, the coffee cup was forgotten on the bench.
She heard a young mother sing a familiar tune. | Source: Unsplash
Carol took it, placed it inside a shopping bag she had in her purse, and a few hours later she was at a private laboratory asking for a DNA test. Carol paid a hefty premium, but two days later she had her results.
The girl in the park was Amber! Carol went to the police. The detectives who'd handled Amber's case were long gone, but one of the detectives had been a rookie when AMber had vanished and he remembered the case.
"I have two kids of my own, Mrs. Kinkaid," he said, "And I wouldn't stop looking either!" With the DNA results, Carol proved that Amber was alive and in New York, now she just had to find her.
For the next two weeks, Carol went to the park every day, waiting to see the young woman again. Finally, there she was! Carol stayed back and watched Amber play with her baby, then followed her home.
The young woman had left her coffee cup on the park bench. | Source: Unsplash
Now she had Amber's address too...Carol spoke to the detective and to a counselor on the best way to approach Amber. After all, this young woman probably had no idea she had been stolen.
Carol and the detective knocked on the young woman's door, and when she opened it, Carol said: "Hi Amber!" There was a flicker of something in her eyes, something like recognition.
Then the young woman laughed. "Sorry, wrong address! I'm Amy, Amy Buddrow."
The detective stepped forward. "Mrs. Buddrow, I'm with the NYPD and we'd like to have a word with you if that's alright?"
Carol had the woman's DNA tested. | Source: Unsplash
Amy/Amber looked worried. "My husband...Has anything happened to Kyle?"
"No, no," said the detective, "Everything is all right with your husband... We're here to talk about you, your childhood."
Amy/Amber raised her eyebrows. "The NYPD sends detectives to talk to people about their childhoods?"
Carol just couldn't stand it anymore. She blurted out: "I'm your mother, you were kidnapped..."
The young woman was shocked by Carol's revelation. | Source: Unsplash
Amy/Amber got up. "You're mad! Get out of my house!"
Carol started singing softly: "Oh little Amber has ten toes, ten teeny tiny toes, Oh little Amber has one nose, one pretty little nose that makes a big noise when it blows..."
"How do you know that song?" Amy/Amber cried. "That's MY song, no one else sings that!"
"I sing it," said Carol, "I made it up for you when you were a baby. I took your coffee cup, the DNA test proves you're my daughter."
"Your daughter!" Amy/Amber gasped. "But... My mother...She died when I was twelve, my aunt raised me..."
Carol and Amber recovered what had been stolen from them. | Source: Pixabay
"Did your 'mother' sing you that song?" asked the detective.
"No!" cried Amy/Amber, "No, never, but when Katy -- my daughter -- was born, I remembered it."
Carol was looking at her beautiful grown-up daughter with tears in her eyes. "You're all right, you're alive and you're alright...I've been so afraid..." It wasn't easy of course. Amy/Amber had a lot to work through.
The police believed that Amy/Amber's 'mother' had stolen her from the park and taken her west to Missouri. The woman had been a loving parent to Amy/Amber, and after her death, her sister who knew nothing about the kidnapped her raised her.
It took a long time for Amy to come to terms with the fact that she had been/was Amber to Carol, but slowly the two women built a new relationship, taking back bit by bit what had been stolen from them.
What can we learn from this story?
- A mother never ever gives up on her children. Even after 25 years, Carol kept looking for her daughter and didn't stop until she found her.
- The loss of a child is the greatest pain anyone can go through. Carol couldn't make peace with her loss because her heart told her that Amber was still alive.
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