Tuesday was not a good day. I'd pulled a muscle so I was pretty much hobbling everywhere, day care was full--all 3 babies--and my kids were on some kind of summer high. The weather was nice and they could not contain their excitement.
So I sent my kids to the park. I usually don't send the 5 yr old with her older sibs because she's so young, but I gave them all very specific instructions to stay together and cautioned her oldest brother to watch out for her. In a perfect world...
Jeffrey, one of the twins, comes home all stressed half an hour later to ask if Kylie (the 7 yr old) had come home. No, I say. His tension increases. She's disappeared from the park and no one knows where she is. He saw her at the fence and then when he looked back she was gone. And to twist a mother's heart as only her child can, he said he may have missed the screaming and struggling of her being dragged off.
I'm feeding babies. They're on a schedule and I don't want to mess that up. Besides, I'm not the panicking type. I ask him to look over the house, in case Kylie came home through the back door and I missed her. Then I asked him to go back to the park and get the others to help look for her. We know some people in the area and they needed to ask if she'd gone to one of their houses.
I missed one crucial instruction, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Jeffrey left and I finished feeding babies. In my mind, I thought of what I could do if they didn't find Kylie. Having a day care means you're pretty much tied to the house. But my husband was downstairs sleeping after working his graveyard shift. In a pinch he can come watch babies.
Well, 20 minutes or so passed and no one appeared at the door. I got antsy. I went down and woke up Bryan. Poor guy. Imagine you're sleeping soundly and your spouse comes down and wakes you with the information that one of your kids has gone missing and no one can find her. So he came upstairs to watch babies and I got in the van and drove to the park.
There they were, all 5 of them, playing happily with some friends. The instruction I had forgotten to give Jeffrey when he left? COME BACK AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU FIND HER. Duh, mom.
So, I took all the kids home and we had a nice, long talk about what it means to take advantage of friendships, not follow instructions, leave the group and go off on your own, etc. We talked about our responsibilities as parents and of their responsibilities as kids. And we're laying fresh ground rules. I can't relegate my kids to spend their entire summer tethered to the house. But at the same time my heart can't take another day like Tuesday.
But, on the bright side--I got through the week with all my kids in tact and without making the news, and I got an amazing massage today so I'm feeling pretty good.