Friday, April 11, 2014

A Heck of a Week

Well, I lost Emmett on Wednesday. Cue intense mortification.

He is fine, thank goodness. Everything is fine, except for my heart rate and my pride. We have a gate in our side yard that is always, always locked. But a friend came to visit that morning, and she came in the gate to meet us in the back yard. I didn't think to check and make sure she'd closed it on her way out. BIG mistake.

So after Emmett's nap we headed outside to play in the back yard. I went to grab laundry out of the dryer (our laundry room is outside, accessed from our side yard,) and brought it inside to fold. After a couple of minutes I went to check on Emmett and couldn't find him. I heard faint crying, so I ran all over searching the garage, the back yard, all of the rooms in the house, and couldn't find him. Near panicked by now, I headed for the side yard to check the laundry room and found the gate to the front yard wide open. I flew through that gate faster than I think I've ever moved in my life to see a big blue truck parked halfway into my front yard. I found Emmett crying in the arms of a strange man, who was on the phone with the police.

My first thought was that Emmett had wandered into the street, chasing Bagel, and was hit by the truck. Thank God, he wasn't hurt. The man was driving by and saw Emmett following Bagel down the sidewalk with no adult in sight and he stopped. Thank God. He couldn't figure out which house Emmett belonged to, so he called the police. When I ran out, he told the dispatcher that he'd found the mother and everyone was fine, gave me a tiny little lecture, and took off.

I've never hugged Emmett so hard in my life. I called Ray and begged him to come home. I knew the police were coming and I couldn't fathom facing them on my own. I was mortified. And terrified, and a million other things all at once. But most of all I was relieved that nothing terrible had happened. Thank God.

I am so grateful to that man who stopped to pick up Emmett and keep him from coming to harm in the street. I'm thankful to him for not yelling at me or lecturing me too hard or making me feel worse than I already did. He was kind and gentle with both of us and I'm sure he must have been an angel.

Ray came home and calmed me down, and left again after 20 minutes or so. The police hadn't come, so I thought we were in the clear. They finally showed up after about 45 minutes (isn't that insane?! You'd think a missing child would warrant a fast response!) and said they just stopped by to make sure everyone was okay. They were menacing and scary but kind. Thank God.

I've heard countless stories in the last couple of days from other moms who've been through similar nightmares, and even though they don't make me feel better or less foolish, they do help. I learned a major lesson about keeping an eye on Emmett and checking all exits before letting him outside, and I'm not sure I'll ever forget the endless heart attacks I felt at the thought of him being hurt or lost, even for a few moments.

Needless to say, I feel like an idiot/bad mom/total disaster. I had a hard time not beating myself up all night long. Then, after a night of tossing and turning, I woke up to Ray realizing I'd left the door to the refrigerator open over night and all the food had gone bad. Fail.

Thank God each day is new and fresh. Rather than holding on to that feeling of defeat and self doubt, I decided that the day could only get better, and I was going to do better. As a mom, wife, refrigerator closer, and everything else.

Please tell me you've had an experience like this. Just knowing other mamas- amazing mamas who I admire and respect- have also been through something like this makes me feel better. So please, tell me your stories!

And have a great weekend!


  1. You are definitely not alone here. One day my mother in law had left the house and walked down the road to the store without telling anyone, so we all just thought she was outside. Then Sydney asked me if she could go outside and play with grandma. We said okay, because this is a normal thing. Then about five minutes later I notice Sydney walking alone down the sidewalk. I freaked out and ran outside. She had apparently gone around the house and was walking down the sidewalk looking for grandma. We live on a busy street and this could have gone so wrong. We were lucky and started a new rule of her not being allowed to walk out unless she can SEE someone else out there.

    1. Oh my gosh! Thank God you saw her! Sometimes we need a little hint- or not so little in both these cases- that there's danger around and we need to be aware of it.
      Thanks for sharing this! Would you believe half an hour after posting this I got Emmett up from his nap and headed outside with him and the dog only to chase both of them out the wide open gate again? As part of our rent we have a gardner who comes and mows the lawn, and he left the gate open. I can't believe I didn't think to check first!

  2. While it hasn't happened YET.... I stress YET!!!! I'm ready for it any time. We did end up in the ER last night because we thought one of my kids swallowed a thumbtack (does that count as bad mothering??) You are a wonderful mama. Someone told me one time that we can tell if we're good mamas because we worry so much about being good mamas.

    1. Oh my gosh! Definitely not bad mothering- kids are crazy. They put insane things in their mouths and have no sense of impending danger. Ahhhhh!
      So, was there a thumbtack after all? I sure hope not- that sounds so painful!



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