I'm sure that when you become a parent, you compose a list of the many terrifying scenarios that you hope will never befall your children:
...car accidents, eaten by bears, addicted to drugs or alcohol, kidnappings, accidentally leaving them in the produce aisle (my mother did this with Daniel).
So when your phone rings late at night and your children are away from home, either because they have moved out or are attending a sleepover, that list is on the forefront of your mind.
In most cases, it probably turns out to be an inconsiderate friend. In other cases, it's the Coast Guard telling you that your son is "lost at sea".
It was late at night when the call came. My mother, father and I were all piled into their bed watching T.V.
From the way my mother's expression changed into one of absolute fear, we instantly knew something very bad had happened.
Earlier that night, Julian and two friends had left for a camping trip on Myrtle Rocks in Powell River. At low tide, people can walk to the island; at high tide, as it was that night, it is completely surrounded by water.
The Coast Guard told my mother that someone had heard my brother calling out repeatedly for help from the water. According to the witness, Julian was lost in the ocean, desperate for aid.
By the time our family was contacted, helicopters had been dispatched, boats sent to search the ocean, and flares shot to light the way.
The screams for help had long since stopped.
Like this, but more night and flare guns.
The next hour was terrible for our family. My mother sat in silent terror, my father was repeating prayers and I didn't know how to react. A couple hours later, we got the call.
Julian was safe.
It was a typical Julian story. Once the other boys stepped onto the island, they abandoned him with all the bags to carry up onto the rocks. Upset at being left with all the heavy lifting, Julian began calling out to his friends: “Help me!”
The longer he waited, the more desperate his calls became. To anyone listening from the mainland, without the luxury of light to see by, it sounded like someone was drowning.
Not too long after that, the flare-helicopter-Coast-Guard dance began. Delighted, the boys settled in to watch the show. Little did they know it was all for them.
Ten thousand tax dollars, one emotionally distraught family, and an entertained Julian later, the whole ordeal was over.
Thankfully, since Julian was completely unaware of the chaos he had caused, he was not forced to pay back the cost of the rescue mission. He did, however, have some real explaining to do with Mom and Dad.
With all the scars it left on our psyches, this was definitely one of the more memorable moments in the Biagi Family Chronicles.