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Apr 13

Strong in a crisis

We all think we’ll be tough.  We’ll be strong, when we need to be.  If the chips are down, we’ll stand up to the challenge.  At least, I did.

But the truth is that I completely crumbled.

Marc was working from home today, and so I roped him into kid pick up.  It’s a two hour process, and whenever possible, I like to make him do it.  So I stayed home with Julianna and Maxwell (a friend’s little boy that I’ve been keeping an eye for a few weeks).  Marc picked up Sam at school and delivered him home, and then drove up the street to get Jessica.

Jessie goes to the middle school that’s less than a mile away.  Certainly close enough to walk, but because we’re usually running from one activity to another after school, it’s just as easy for me to pick up every day.  I pick up Sam, then we go pick up Jessie, then we go pick up Harrison, and then we drop off wherever and finally end up at home.  Because I was here, Marc was able to drop Sam off here (usually I keep him with me, and we do homework while waiting for Jessie).  Long story short, Marc is waiting outside of the school, in his car, and Jessie never showed up.

He called me, and I sent him into the school to get her.  He called me again, and told me that nobody could find her.  Where did I drop her off this morning?  Did I know for sure that she made it into school?  His cell phone service was spotty, so we kept getting cut off, but I did get that nobody knew where my daughter was, and possibly hadn’t known for hours.

At this point, Harrison was waiting to get picked up, so I tossed everyone in the car to go get him.  Desperately trying to not cry, to not panic.  To not picture all of the worst case scenarios that were running thru my brain.  Did she actually make it into the building?  I had dropped her off at the front door, and I knew damn well that my daughter wasn’t the kind of kid to skip – but maybe someone had grabbed her.  It’s a middle school, with bigger, tougher kids, and she’s Jewish, maybe there was something going on there – was she being tormented and bullied?  Was she lost, alone and scared, wondering if we’d find her?

Then Marc called, and she was fine.  He had her, it was okay.  She had come out of school, hadn’t seen the van, and didn’t think to look for Marc.  She started walking home, and then one of her friends drove by and told her that her dad was back at the school, so she started walking back to school.  She’s got blisters on her feet, and an overactive imagination – so she freaked herself out thinking that something awful had happened to prevent me to from getting her, but no lasting damage was done.

Except that I think I’m probably never going to be able to forget that ten or fifteen minutes.  When I knew that, without her, I would completely fall apart.  There would be no illusion that I’d be stoic and strong, I was a heartbeat away from screaming at the idea that she had been taken.  It’s two hours later, and I’m still feeling like I survived some sort of trauma.

 

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