Saturday, February 26, 2011

misplaced....
















   We all lose things, our keys..shoes..bills..important pieces of paper that you put some place but just can't remember where. (once during our sleep deprived era ('98-'05) I swore I lost my car keys-while driving.)  These things happen. You find them after a frustrating search (involving much swearing) and then you vow you will never let it happen again. Sigh...but it does. I know this because it happens to me all of the time.  Unfortunately, one of those times involved my son.  No, I didn't misplace him-I just thought that I knew where he was.

   It was almost ten years ago. We were living in a house on the woods with a fenced in yard. Sammy was outside playing with Charlie our dog.. I was standing on the deck holding a fussy baby Oscar..watching. Sam and Charlie ran behind the wood shed and disappeared. Remember-the yard was totally fenced..I had no cause to be alarmed..no reason to think that anything "wrong" was going on. Until I happened to notice that they weren't coming back out..and being the type of parent who gets suspicious when any of my kids are THAT quiet.. I went to investigate...and found to my extreme horror that my son and my dog had dug a hole under the fence(ala "Shawshank Redemption") and decided to go exploring...in the woods...during hunting season. I immediately started calling "Sam..Charlie!!"..and I'm sure you can imagine my frustration when only Charlie came running. Yup-my dog came back...and being that he is a yellow lab and not a collie named Lassie..he was of no help. There were no useful barks to let me know that Timmy/Sammy was stuck in a well, trapped under a log or held captive by rogue hunters. Nope-he just wanted to play and seemed quite pleased with himself that he had come when called.

  I was definitely not the poster girl for "Guns and Ammo" magazine  as I raced through the woods, holding a screaming baby in one arm, a cell phone to my ear..simultaneously screaming "SAM!!!!!!" and yelling at the 911 dispatcher that my son had disappeared. Although I am sure I got the attention of every hunter as I scared off every woodland creature for miles around.. THANKFULLY- twenty very long years minutes later..a neighbor brought an un-phased Sam back to me (he had wandered 1/4/ mile up the road)...followed by a police officer who in no uncertain terms let me know what he thought of my parenting-or lack thereof. He didn't think much of it. At all. I felt like the WORST parent in the world.  The worst. How could I have misplaced my son? I mean he disappeared while I was watching him!  Oh-I beat myself up for a good long time over this..and it took me quite a while to get over it. If you can call becoming "UBER VIGILANT MOTHER" getting over it..

   Yes, I am always on guard..hyper aware now.  If we are out-I am constantly counting heads-checking to see where they are. Making OCD work for me.  Now that Sam is older-I find it very difficult to let him go off on his own when we are out.  Oh, I let him..I HAVE to..but that doesn't mean that I don't secretly check up on him when he is off on his own in the book store. I just don't let him know. I have taught them what to do if they get lost-(stand still and yell for me), taught them to use the telephone, told them who to go to if they can't find me. I am trying to teach them to be as self sufficient as possible-because,  I can't let my anxiety get in their way. So, I thought I had it under control-covered every angle..until last Friday...

   Imagine my dismay as the bus pulled up.and in the thirty seconds it took to stop, open the door....and as the herd tumbles out..all yelling for my attention..it LEAVES....and I quickly notice I only have three children.. I should have four..Where is my fourth??!! " WHERE IS MY ZOE??!!"  I shouted  as I started to run down the street trying to stop the bus (Ala Sally Field in "Not Without My Daughter" minus the burkha). But it was too fast. I frantically grabbed the phone to call the school....and in the fifteen rings it took for them to answer..I thought.."what if she's lost?..or followed the wrong legs and got off at the wrong stop?..what if she never got on?..what if she is wandering around the school crying for me?.." It also didn't help that her brothers and sister  couldn't remember seeing her-and were walking around the house yelling "Zoe where are you?!"...in tears.. So when the school did finally answer..All I could choke out was "Zoe didn't get off the bus!"..Luckily, I am in a very small school-so they knew who I was..and which bus Zoe didn't get off of.  They radioed the driver who said.."She's on the bus with me...she couldn't find her hat...I am going to drop her off on my way back down the road.."   So I waited outside-FUMING...And as the bus pulled up, and my little girl fell into my arms..I could only just GLARE as the driver said "I was bringing her back!.." As if I shouldn't have been alarmed..as if I was somehow psychic and knew she was safe on the bus...He was very lucky that there were three kids anxiously watching from the door..cheering their sisters return. Lucky that my anxiety had left me speechless.  But for the next week-I did not wave hello to him as was my usual routine-Yeah...I told him.

  So now we have a new routine in place. They are all to look for each other BEFORE getting off of the bus.  If they forget their hat or gloves-they are to leave them. They will be there the next day. If they aren't, they are replaceable.  They have enough on their plate as it is-they don't need to be worrying over every little thing.  Besides, that's my job.  I am very good at it.

15 comments:

Life in the House That Asperger Built said...

OMG! How scary! I freaked out just reading it! It's so hard, isn't it? Whenever Coleman goes to a friend's house, I'm secretly at home totally losing my mind. It's just the worst.

(((hugs)))

Lizbeth said...

There's nothing like "the evil stare" to get your message across! Those moments of fear seem like an eternity...I'm glad she came off the bus safe and sound.

Peter said...

I lost my Sam in the Providence RI airport terminal once. We were standing in line to get a pretzel. I looked up at the menu board, and when I looked back down, he had vanished. About 3 terrifying minutes later, I found him curled up with a magazine on the floor of the book shop next to the pretzel shop. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dear,

I could feel my anxiety rise as I read the blog. The bus driver must not have children. I will forever hate Disney World. I am glad to see you are up and blogging again. Thank you!
Love Ei

kathleen said...

@ life in the house-It IS so hard...sigh..I wonder if it will ever get easier?

@Lizbeth-thanks..and yes..heehee..sometimes the evil stare is all that you have to work with-so I try to make mine good. :)

@Peter-That three minutes probably aged you 30 years didn't it? The relief must have been overwhelming.

@Eileen-I don't think that he does..but my anxiety..which has been fed by the scare tactics of dad..well, they make me a wreck sometimes...I just hear him "You know kid-anyone can steal your kids..even from your house.." *sigh*

Angela said...

Okay can I just say I kind of like it when parents make mistakes at least for once its not the nanny's fault...its always my fault where I work LOL

If you weren't part of the super mom club I wouldnt be joking, but I am totally not worried about your children :) love ya

Looking for Blue Sky said...

My heart was in my mouth reading that...it's one of my biggest fears. Some of my friends who had children close together have lost one or more when distracted and I've been terrified of it happening to me. My kids (except SMiley) learned their address and my mobile number almost as soon as they could talk and I'm afraid I was so paranoid I literally never let them out of my sight until they were 5 or so (I just brought them with me everywhere). So it's not just you!

bbsmum said...

I have recurring nightmares about losing BB in crowded places (a different one each time!), and wake up in a panic. Awful.

Stephanie said...

I so totally identify! I've never left a kid on the bus--had the bus totally not show up, but never left one on it. Definitely experienced the digging of holes, the escaping out the garage door, the window, slats in the fence, a door that didn't quite latch...

Did I mention I can identify?

I have to count heads even when we're at home, 'cause you never know. Especially when there are sirens. Must count heads when there are sirens. Or honking cars. Or car crashing sounds.

I count heads a lot.

mamafog said...

So scary, glad it ended well. I would seriously have trouble dealing with that bus driver.

Big Daddy Autism said...

I've done the "I lost my keys" thing while driving before. But I haven't misplaced a kid yet. Of course, I don't have a herd. (Unless 2 counts as a herd)

KWombles said...

((())) We both do OCD and anxiety well. And my heart was in my throat reading it.

kathleen said...

2Angela-Thanks-you're pretty terrific yourself..:)

@bluesky-Thanks-it's nice to not feel so alone..sigh..will I ever get over this anxiety??
@bbsmum-oh me too! Whenever we go out-I dress them in very vivid colors..and secretly wish I could attach balloons and bells...:)

@ Stephanie-heehee! I DO THE SAME THING when I her sirens!! I count heads even when they are right in front of me!..sigh..I'm always counting...

@Mamfog-he really is a nice guy..who just wasn't THINKING clearly..I believe that he won't EVER make that mistake again..;0

@ Big Daddy-then it isn't just me! pshew! Yup-two can be a herd...depends on what they are doing..
@Kim-hee! yup!

Diane said...

This is a serious flashback moment for me - except that I was the kid on the bus. And the driver didn't bring us back. I think I'm going to write this up as a post on my blog, because it'll be way too long for a comment.

D. S. Walker said...

I felt your fear and I too have always been the over-protective mom when it comes to making sure everyone is safe, yet my hubby lost our daughter at LAX when she was 5. Luckily for him someone brought her back safely before I returned from the bathroom. We didn't travel much for years after that. Thankfully, they are older now and it is not as worrisome, but I still have other worries like daughter will soon be learning to drive. Can you say fear?