I was running up and down the aisles of the massive superstore - running but not panicking. I'd got the Tesco security guards to cover the entrance; I'd got the help desk to put all staff on alert. Stan had slipped away from me. He wasn't exactly missing - but he was definitely absent.
The good thing about not panicking is that you get to think straight. You swing a plan of action into being and you think about what you're doing. So it suddenly dawned on me that Stan likes to go to the Costa outlet which is situated at the back of the store. And there he was in the coffee shop, having pilfered a strawberry smoothie. Quite a relief but why am I so pleased with myself about this? The answer is that I did all the things I was supposed to do.
Of course, like in Peter Pan, all this has happened before and all of it will happen again. A couple of weeks ago Stan took off and the police found him. His brother reckons that, at almost 15, Stan has hormones raging through him and that when you find it difficult to express yourself, it's perhaps easier to take the path of least resistance; ie bugger off.
But, despite the fact that I lost my son with Down's and it was worrying, I'm celebrating a small victory. I actually nailed it by acting calmly. And then I took Stan around the store, getting him to apologise to various members of staff who had helped us. My advice to parents / carers in a similar position? Have a plan. Panic by all means. But the plan will help you to centre your thoughts.