Anna was missing for about 12 of the longest minutes of my life this afternoon. We had just returned from her annual checkup with her neurologist when I took a load of laundry from the garage into the house. She said, "Mom, I want to ride my bike," to which I replied, "Okay, honey, I'll be out in a minute." I have been so excited for her because she has not wanted to ride her bike for 2 years and has just decided to try it again (with training wheels of course). And we'd had a long neuro visit followed by an ugly blood draw and I wanted her to relax. I started folding laundry and Curtis returned home from a business lunch and I asked him casually if he'd seen Anna outside riding her bike. He said that he had not seen her or her bike and went out to look for her.
He was back in just a minute and didn't see her. We didn't feel any alarm yet, because we live on a cul-de-sac on a quiet street off of another cul-de-sac and all the neighbors know us and know to watch out for Anna. We've been allowing her short outings with the neighborhood kids, they know to look out for her and help her out... it allows her a little freedom and independence too. We figured she was up the street, just past the curve and since it's already 100 degrees here today, Curtis hopped in his car and drove up to fetch her.
I put on my shoes and started looking for her in earnest. Curtis returned and said that none of the kids were out and he still couldn't find her. I saw her bike in my mom's front yard (my mom lives 2 houses to our left) and thought maybe Anna went inside, even though my mom is at work. Nope, her house was locked. Then I checked our car because I've found her playing in our vehicles from time to time. Nope, not there either (which was a good thing since the heat is so unbearable today). Curtis drove around the neighborhood while I walked, calling to Anna in my loudest voice. It was at this point that my worry alarm started really ringing.
She didn't respond to my calls, I could not find her in any of her usual spots. I made it all the way up the street then started knocking on doors. We got 2 sets of parents and multiple kids involved in the search when I saw her coming out from Joseph's house, a neighbor that lives 3 houses to our right. Joseph is the middle of 3 kids, he is 14 and cognitively challenged due to chemo he had for cancer at age 2. He and Anna are good friends, they "get" each other, and they often play together. I'm so glad they have each other but they have gotten into a bit of trouble since they don't understand certain common rules. Joseph and his family were not home when Anna was missing. Anna went into their backyard to see their dog and caged birds on the back porch. She had told us that she went into their house as well, but she actually hadn't... the house was locked (I talked with the dad a little later about it).
Needless to say, my sweet little Booski got quite a lecture and she is grounded the rest of the day. We are also shopping for wearable GPS devices. For those of you not familiar with her younger year horror stories, we've dubbed Anna to have UDS... Ultra Danger Syndrome. If something has a warning label, it's written for a child like Anna. Maybe sometime I'll write up all of the stories and heart attacks she's induced, but for now, I'm grateful she's okay.