This morning, as I do most mornings, I brought Eden into bed with me to cuddle her back to sleep. She tends to wake up at about 6am and if she stays up at that point, she is tired and cranky way too early in the day. So I try to put her back to bed until Maddie gets up, an hour or two later. Sometimes, I sneak out of bed once she is asleep, but this morning (and most of the time now that I'm a pregnant), I fell back asleep with her.
When I woke up again at about 7:30am, she wasn't in bed. I didn't hear the girls playing or talking so I made a quick tour through the house. I did not find them, but instead discovered that the front door was wide open. I stood at the door scanning around for them and calling their names but saw and heard nothing. I raced back to my bedroom for my phone, grabbing my husband's fleece on the way. I ran around the outside of the house but only found an indoor riding toy in the backyard. Even though it would be impossible for them to manage it, I looked inside the above ground pool to make sure they didn't some how climb inside. Thankfully, there was no evidence of them in the pool.
I assumed that they had gone to my in-laws house, since we walk there often now that we live a few hundred feet away. As I made my way through my back yard and another house's yard, I called Seth. He was leading the opening service at the school so he didn't answer. I wanted to call the church phone but my phone hasn't had a screen display for some time now and I did not want to take the time to locate the church number. So I went ahead and called 911. I knew it was premature but I had no way of knowing how long they had been out wandering around. If I didn't find them at my in laws, they could have been ANYWHERE. I was crying while explaining to the dispatcher the situation. I was also calling the girls and running across the large backyards.
I kept thinking that even though I was positive they intended to go to grandma's house, would Eden keep up or even want to follow Maddie? They could have ended up going separate ways, and Eden would not be able to figure out where home or grandma's house was. They is a thickly overgrown field bordering the neighborhood and as I walked, I keep my eyes in the brush for movement. And then of course the possibility of someone snatching them was in the back of my mind.
Arriving at my in laws house, the door was opened a crack, and there was Maddie's face in the window. Eden was lounging on grandma's couch, with a spoon hanging out of her mouth. They had climbed onto the counter and retrieved the sugar bowl and were helping themselves by the spoonful.
I let the 911 operator know that I had found them and they were fine. I don't remember what exactly I said to Maddie but she said to me, "We just walked to Grandma's house, Mom. Why are you acting like this?"
Maddie was wearing her pajama t-shirt, a tiny pair of shorts she usually wears under skirts and shoes. Eden had on her pajamas and no shoes or socks. Both were as happy as larks and saw no reason for me to be upset.
I got out the defibrillator, restarted my heart, grabbed the little runaways and went home, hoping that the entire neighborhood was not seeing me in my pajamas. Maddie still not understand my wide eyes or near hysteria. She was thrilled with herself since she had watched for cars as she crossed the street. She had just wanted to go see grandma, after all. The fact that grandma wasn't even home didn't seem to matter to her.
And so, we now have high up locking devices on our doors leading to the outside. I've tried numerous times to explain to Maddie how bad and scary that was but she truly is not comprehending. Maybe I should just tie her to her bed after she goes to sleep...?