Somehow, the communication wires got crossed.
Of course it happened the day we were late to pick up the kids because the DMV took *gasp* twenty minutes to get us our new licenses for our brand-new state. (That includes the time it took to take the actual written test, too.)
I called the school and they said that late pick-ups just needed to call the office when they got there and they would send the kids out to the same place. I called as we pulled up and was informed they only had one of my kids. I heard them paging the other one while I was still on the phone. The secretary put me on hold for a few moments and then asked if I could come around to the office.
Panic began to form a tight knot in my heart.
Mr. Brickie dropped me off and drove the path home to see if Big Sister had walked. I didn’t think that would happen because while Middle Sister is VERY excited by the prospect of walking home, Big Sister is more unsure. It was a long shot, but better to split up and cover more ground as soon as possible.
Middle Sister was in the office waiting. She said that Big Sister was waiting in the car area with her and then she wasn’t there anymore. (We found out later that was incorrect.) The principal, the teacher that is on car-rider pick-up watch, and the substitute teacher for Sadie’s class today (along with the school secretary) were all having a little get-together covering what they thought could have happened. They paged through the school several more times and asked Middle Sister and I questions about Sadie’s friends at school and if she was thinking about visiting someone’s house.
I started to get a little nervous thinking they were implying my child might have gotten plucked from the car-rider pick up line but the principal assured me that sometimes it happens because the kids make plans and the parents just go along with them sometimes. She was sure if Big Sister hadn’t walked home some other kind parent probably just gave her a ride. “It happens.”
“Oh. So I shouldn’t be worried just yet?”
“No. No. I’m sure she’s fine. ”
“This is not the reaction I was expecting. ”
*everyone laughs in a kind-hearted way that feels like I’m a big-city fool who just doesn’t understand how things work around these parts*
About this time, Mr. Brickie calls and – lo and behold – Big Sister HAD walked home. By herself. She was very angry because she thought that Middle Sister had left without her and she walked the whole way home thinking she was going to see Middle Sister any minute now until she got home and no one was home waiting for her. She was very sad and got very scared.
Mr. Brickie found her safe and watching for our car by a big tree near the house where she could see us coming from FIVE different directions. Smart kid. I was planning on giving both the girls a house key on a necklace this weekend, I guess this is a good example of why it’s a good idea!
As she opened the office door to come inside everyone smiled at her and said they were really glad she got found. When I wrapped my arms around her and said, “I was so worried. I’m so happy you’re safe.” her little angrysadscarednervous tears spilled over. I felt awful for her. Poor kid. She made a bad decision, but she got home safe and then waited for us to find her.
In the future, Big Sister will make sure not to make any walking or riding decisions without Middle Sister by her side.
Teamwork makes the dream work, y’all.