Corona Virus Day #80: The Worst Best Day Ever: June 7, 2020
It’s days like today I’m glad I learned to write so long ago. I love writing, it’s a huge release for me. Partly why this blog started in the first place. I need a release today like none other. Today was one for the books. I can honestly say that today may have been the scariest days of my life. Literally.
It didn’t get off to a good start. Fletcher was upset and had an epic meltdown. It was ugly. When he was done he marched in my room and asked me what his consequences would be. When I told him what they were he handled most of them well. When I told him that depending on how he behaved the rest of the morning he may not get to go to his cousin Jimmy’s birthday pool party he was upset but took it in stride.
The morning went on and he played outside with his siblings and built towers in the basement, and rode his bike…by all accounts a fairly normal day. After lunch I was washing dishes from some baking I had done and he came into the kitchen and asked if he could go ride his bike.
This is a totally normal activity for him and since we live in the country and have a large circle driveway I often let him go out there, usually with siblings, and ride his bike. My mom gut warned me it was a bad idea today for some reason but I ignored it (never ever do this) but I didn’t think it was a big deal since he does it all the time. Boy was I wrong! I would say he was out there about 3 minutes when Bryan walked in the kitchen and asked where he was. I told him he was riding his bike and he went out to check on him.
He wasn’t there.
I immediately looked in the car. I could totally see him sitting in his seat to make a point that he was going to go to Jimmy’s party, even though at this point we never told him he wasn’t going. I think he knew he didn’t deserve to go so he was making assurances he would. I opened the back door, the sliding door, screamed his name. No noise, no movement. He wasn’t there. I checked the other cars in the garage. Nothing.
At first I was calm. How far could he have gotten in 3 minutes. Bryan believed he was on his bike as we didn’t see it tucked away deep in the garage.
So, ok, he could have gotten farther on that. A little more worried now.
Bryan checked the barn. Not there either. Now I’m worried.
Kids looked all over the house. Nothing. Now I’m borderline freaking out…But staying calm.
Think! I thought to myself…where would he go?
There were two places I saw him going, my sisters or our neighbors. Being that our neighbor was closer I called her and told her we couldn’t find him and asked her to help us look. She said absolutely and I saw her outside seconds later with her husband. They went and told our other neighbors who also came out to help.
I ran to the pond as I called my sister. I prayed. Please GOD, don’t let him be by the pond. We have warned the kids within an inch of their life that they are NOT to be by that pond without an adult…but this kid is stubborn as any kid I’ve ever met. And he was mad at us for disciplining him for his behavior earlier that day…so maybe, just to spite us.
I didn’t see anything at the pond…which I ran around in record speed I might add…I will pay for that tomorrow I’m sure. Adrenaline really is amazing.
I ran up to the house and decided I needed to get in the car and go try to find him. Bryan was already on the road to Jen and Luke’s.
The kids were all outside screaming for him. They yelled things like “Fletcher come on we need to leave for Jimmy’s,” “do you want a special treat?” “Fletcher, Logan is here to play with you.” (I didn’t learn this until tonight when I was talking with each of them about the incident).
No sign of him anywhere. I called 911. They asked me what felt like 300 questions and within I’d say less than 5 minutes I passed a unit on the road on their way to our house. Good, more help I thought!
As I drove down the road GOD and I had a serious talk. I prayed.
I called my sister and told her what my mom heart was feeling. Abject terror. Fear beyond anything I’d ever experienced in my life. She listened, she cried as she was running down a path looking for him. She just kept saying “we are going to find him.”
I wanted her to be right. I wasn’t sure she was.
The farther I drove the more terrified I got.
The worst case scenarios wouldn’t leave my head. The road on the way to Jennifer and Luke’s is very dangerous. If he was on his bike on the gravel road on a hill…ugh. I cannot go there. It was too dark.
My sister and her 10-year-old Hunter went to the path we always bike on to go down to the river. She later told me that she wished there was a video of the two of them sprinting down the path screaming his name…because we would now likely think it was funny.
Luke, her husband was driving around looking for him too.
Our neighbors ran down to two of the different paths we can hike on our property. All these people looking. No sign of him.
My panic was at an all time high. Our neighbors, the women, ran back down to the pond to search again.
That was my biggest fear. The worst case scenarios in these situations are NOT ok.
I heard screaming at this point. It sounded like happy screaming. When I turned the corner Bryan was talking to a police officer and everyone looked calm. I didn’t see him at first.
But there he was.
All that time…he was hiding under a large bag of stuff in the very back of the van.
Keep in mind…I looked there. First. Obviously not very well as it didn’t occur to me he’d hide under a large trash bag of crap. I know better now.
Also, I should mention Bryan drove this car around with the windows down screaming his name.
He said nothing.
When I saw him I sat on the floor and held him so tight and cried my face off.
The rest is a blur. I couldn’t calm myself down. My heart rate was at an all time high. I felt like I was going to both pass out and vomit.
I felt immense relief and gratitude but also the same amount of frustration and anger.
It’s amazing how you can feel such conflicting emotions simultaneously.
Shortly after all of this passed we had to get in the car and drive to our godson’s 16th birthday. I had been excited for this party all day. Jimmy was the first baby I truly loved. When Brent and Laura asked us to be his godparents Bryan and I weren’t even married yet. It was the highest compliment anyone had ever paid me at that time.
I was beyond honored and I love this kid like he’s my own.
Fletcher destroyed my joy for this event. I felt exhausted and barely able to function. Fiona kept asking me if I was ok. I was not. But I pretended I was.
However, I was wrong about the joy part…It did my body good to see family, to see our kids laugh, play and have fun with their cousins that they love so much. To feel normal, because nothing about the hours prior was normal.
When we got home tonight we all sat down and talked about what had happened. I explained to Fletcher that what he had done was very bad and extremely scary. Each one of his siblings told him how today made them feel.
I have to say he sat on his bed and took it like a man. You could see he felt genuinely bad that he made all of us feel terrified.
Fiona told him she was very scared, Ellen immediately began crying and told him she was also very scared and worried something bad had happened to him. Cooper said that he was so worried that he was lost and they wouldn’t find him. Finley told him he was scared someone had taken him.
All of them were emotional. I cried like a baby.
I am hopeful that this exercise was therapeutic for the kids as I know what that 30+ minutes did to them and how scared they felt. I was proud of them for expressing to him how they felt and I was proud of him for listening intently and taking it all in. He is only 5, but he showed maturity here in this moment.
I have to look for the positives here because this was truly the scariest day of my life. I allowed myself to go to some dark places and convinced myself the worst had happened…so the positives are this…
- Above ALL else…I am so grateful Fletcher is ok. As mad as I was at him for doing what he did, I couldn’t be mad very long because I was so damn happy he was ok.
- Did I mention I was grateful to GOD for protecting our boy when he put himself in a dangerous situation? It was 96 degrees today. He was in a car. Makes me sick to my stomach. My prayer was a continuous “keep him safe LORD.” And HE did just that. GOD is good.
- I am so grateful to have a sister and brother in law I can call who will drop what they are doing in the drop of a hat and run out of the house to help find our son. I know how scared they were. I know how scared their kids were. I feel terrible about that. But I’m grateful they were all there. Hunter and Logan both gave me the best hugs when it was all over and that made me feel better. My sister, being a mom, went to those dark places with me but didn’t let me fall off the cliff. I’m beyond grateful for that.
- I am incredibly grateful that we have neighbors that also dropped everything they were doing and ran out full speed to help find our baby. They are awesome people.
- I am grateful to have a husband who is my partner in all things. He was calm, though I know he was freaking out on the inside. He took action immediately and ultimately found him.
- I am grateful for 5 children who really love each other. The love I saw them demonstrate for their brother and to each other when the shit hit the fan was pretty incredible. I was really proud of how they reacted and how they shared their feelings tonight and how much they fought for their baby brother today. If one good thing came out of this…it was that.
- I’m grateful our nephew Dax was here. He is a very calm kid and he didn’t seem at all worried and I think that helped his cousins. They needed that. GOD really does work in beautiful ways.
- I’m grateful for a Gaga who stayed in the house in case he came back or turned out to be hiding somewhere in the house. When Gaga is stressed she cleans, so when I returned home from the party she was organizing a cabinet. I’m grateful for her always.
This was a terrible but beautiful day. Not one I’m anxious to repeat.
I know many people have stories about losing their kid and we are not alone in this.
I am so tired. I feel a little like I have been hit by a very large bus.
Tonight I sat and watched Fletcher fall asleep and I was grateful I had the opportunity to do so. He may be stubborn as hell and today he was naughty as hell and he gave us the scare of a lifetime but he is one special little boy and we love him so much. As he fell asleep I thanked GOD over and over. When I left his room and headed to the girls room Ellen was journaling about her day and Fiona was praying the rosary. Finley and Cooper were also journaling. GOD is good. He gave us these 5 humans that are all so special in so many ways. I will never stop being grateful for every single day.
Tomorrow will be a better day. We will discuss tomorrow again how serious what he did was and I will pray to never relive this experience ever again. Tomorrow is Jimmy’s 16th birthday, so I will thank GOD he was born 16 years ago on this day and that I get to be a part of his life.
GOD is good.