By Heather O.
This post does have a happy ending. It could have had a bad ending, and it came awfully close to being likethis story, but, thankfully, everything was ok. I just want to say that at the outset, because the last time I told somebody a suspenseful story about my son, she yelled at me for stopping her heart in her youth.
Ok, so lately, I’ve been REALLY tired. A friend and I have formed a running group, and we have been running every day and lifting weights. I actually am now a fan of working out with somebody, because nothing gets you out of bed to abuse your body like somebody else’s good opinion of you. But one of the women in our group has to work out early, and when I say early, I mean before dawn. Yeah, I didn’t really know that 5:30 comes twice a day. Now I know.
So I parked my kid in front of a video yesterday afternoon so I could collapse for a few minutes (um, or hours, however you care to look at it). He sort of bounced around my bed, made noises, you know, doing the soundtrack of a mother’s life. Somehow as a mom you can actually sleep through all of this. I was doing just fine, and fell asleep for I’m not really sure how long. It was the silence rather than the noise that woke me up.
I groggily poked my head over the edge of the bed to see if I could see J, and I called his name. No answer. I threw the covers off of me, and starting looking for him in earnest, still calling his name. Again, no answer. I searched the house, searched the backyard, and even knocked on the neighbor’s door to see if he had wandered over there. Again, nothing. Now, I should mention that J is not a wanderer. I used to keep a childlock thingie on all my doors, and he USED to try to get out when he was younger, but he has been conditioned to stay in the house since then. You know, like the elephant who gets chained by a strong chain and then can be kept in by a little chain because he doesn’t try the chain again. And that’s just yet another example of how circus life resembles motherhood.
Anyway, at this point, it has been a nearly 15 minute search, and still, nothing. I pick up the phone to call DH, just to try and think through everything, and my heart stopped.
The phone was dead.
Ok, maybe I was still a little groggy from my nap, but suddenly all kinds of wacky scenarios are running through my head, and when I heard the ice-cream man outside, I knew I had the solution: The ice-cream man had snuck into my house while I was asleep, cut my phone lines, and had STOLEN my baby! I was just trying to figure out how I could get a police detective to believe me as I got in my car to start to try and comb the neighborhood.
One of my neighbors was out on the street, and I told her that I couldn’t find J. She deployed her pre-teens on bikes to check all the ditches in the neighborhood, and they took to their Mission Impossible like Tom Cruise himself. She said she would station herself at the entrance to our development, just in case she saw J leave or come back. I was ready to enlist the help of other neighbors, but thought I should check the house just one more time. Maybe he was just playing a REALLY good game of hide and seek. Time from startled awakening to silence: 25 minutes. Mommy panic was seriously setting in.
I carefully looked in every closet, and under every piece of furniture, thinking maybe he was stuck, or had suffocated somewhere. I even checked an old trunk where he HAS gotten stuck before, and then went to check under my bed. I pulled the covers off the bed to look under it, and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.
There, on TOP of my bed, was my child. Asleep. Breathing peacefully, perfectly in tact, snuggled up with a toy, his head close to the pillow I had been using, looking like the angel that he is. His body had been hidden by the covers that I had thrown off of my own body when I had gotten out of bed a half an hour before, and he was clearly so deeply asleep he had not been disturbed by my shouting his name. I offered a quick prayer of gratitude, tucked him in a little better, and went to tell my neighbor to call off the search. And I have to say, her little re-con team actually looked slightly disappointed. Looking for a kid who could be dead in a ditch was WAY more exciting than selling lemonade.
I have to admit, I did tell a little white lie. I told her he had been hiding in the house, in my room. I just did not have to heart to tell her that the whole time he had been asleep. In my bed. Next to me. What a lame mom.
Good thing I didn’t call 911. I’m sure they would have been largely unimpressed by my story, my mothering skills, and, of course, my housekeeping skills. Maybe it was a good thing that a construction crew had accidentally cut our neighborhood phone lines. And it looks like the ice-cream man was not, after all, a crazed child molester who likes to kidnap little boys. He’s clearly just a guy trying to make a buck off of our children’s sugar addictions. Go figure.
So, let’s be grateful for safe children, and, um, make your beds, ladies. Otherwise you could lose a person in there.
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