When I was just a wee youngster (round about 4 years old), my mom received a frantic phone call from the babysitter explaining that I was nowhere to be found, and she had definitely searched the whole house and the yard and had no idea where I could be. I’m not sure exactly the sequence of events, but I imagine my mom came rushing home from work to search the neighborhood for me, and at some point remembered that I had said something about a dog down the street who had puppies. Of course she went to said house and found me in their garage, happily playing with the puppies, not a care in the world. Strangely, I actually sort of remember it, too. I don’t remember everything about this event (as I said, I was but a wee youngster), but I distinctly remember sneaking out the side door of the house, and closing it quitely behind me so the babysitter wouldn’t hear me. I also remember thinking that I would sneak back into the house after visiting the puppies and she would never know that I had been gone. I don’t remember the puppies specifically, or even what breed of dog they were, but I distinctly remember which house it was. Also, I may be mistaken on this point, but I’m pretty sure I snuck into the garage without asking permission from the owners either.
Before you read any further, let me just tell you that everyone is fine, and there is nothing to worry about anymore.
So today I got home from school about 3:30 to find Stephen at home, but no Adele. When I asked him where she was he said he didn’t know, and that he had looked for her in the classroom and the homework room and the office, and she wasn’t there, so he thought she must have walked home without him and came back to the house. He had been home about 10 minutes when I got there. So we got back in the car and drove to school to find her. On the way there, he told me that he didn’t know where she would be, because there were no after school activities today. Of course my worst-case scenario generator was in high gear, and I was panicking on the inside, but trying so hard to keep it together because I didn’t want Stephen to freak out too. So we got to school and I had him go upstairs and check her classroom again, and look in her locker to see if her coat was there. Meanwhile I explained to the secretary that she had not come home and asked if she had seen Adele (it’s a small school, so the secretary knows everyone). Of course she had not seen Adele, but immediately paged her over the intercom, and got out the little file containing the phone numbers of all the kids in Adele’s class. I looked at the list of kids in Adele’s class, and we called all the kids I thought Adele might have gone to visit. A few of them were not home, but of those who were home, none had seen Adele. I called our neighbors and asked if she was over there – no. Stephen and I drove home to check if she had gone home since we left for the school – no. As we were leaving the house to drive around the neighborhood and look for her, Stephen told me tearfully that he was sorry and it must be all his fault because he should have found her after school before he walked home. Poor Stephen! Of course I told him it was not his fault, and that he should not worry, because I’m sure we would find her soon. And then I remembered that she had brought a friend home from school one day and asked me (in front of the girl she had already brought in the house) if her friend could stay and play. I racked my brain trying to remember the girl’s name – was it Nicole?? I asked Stephen, and he said “You mean Naomi?” That was it! So I called the school, and the secretary knew exactly who I meant, and called the girl’s father. He was still at work, but he called the house and sure enough, Adele was there. Naomi had called her father to see if Adele could come over, but Adele had not bothered to call us to ask permission, nor had she called to let us know where she was. I had some difficulty finding the place at first because they had moved from the house where I had dropped her off a couple of months ago, but eventually found it and brought her home.
Yes, she is grounded. And I think she realizes that what she did was very wrong and probably won’t do it again; at least not soon. But I couldn’t help feeling a pang of guilt over how I must have made my mother feel all those years ago.
I suppose you could say “what goes around comes around”. In case I haven’t said it recently, I’m sorry Mom.