So I had my own personal nightmare on Elm Street on Monday.
Mondays are "run around" day. Henry has T ball practice from 5:30 to 6:30, Harmony has dance from 6 to 6:45, and Patrick has City Council at either 6 or 7, depending on the week (this week it was 7).
Patrick dropped off Henry, then Harmony. Once Hope woke up from her nap, we went to watch Henry's practice at the middle school field and pick him up.
I had been chatting with Patty, one of the other T-ball moms. Her son Dillan used to go to the same daycare as Henry and Harmony. We talked about kindergarten since her son would be starting this fall with Harmony. She was nervous, since they had planned for him to go to the Catholic school (which just announced its closing). We talked about a playdate for the boys sometime--Dillan had been asking to play with Henry.
It was 6:40, and practice didn't show any signs of wrapping up. Patty volunteered that Henry could come home from them--they lived just diagonally across the street, on the other side of the school, on the corner by the railroad tracks on the south side. Hesitantly I agreed--this was the second time she had offered. We knew the family from their interactions at preschool, and knew we had similar parenting values.
So I picked up Harmony, and discovered that I had forgotten about picture day (which would have been hard anyway, since we also picked up the costume for the first time). Got the insane schedule for recital week, and went to get Henry.
So we went to the other side of the school. There was one house on the south side of the tracks, and knocked on the door--no answer. Tried again--no answer. Walked around the house--there was a playset in the back yard, good sign, but no kids. Tried the back door. No answer.
Took several deep breaths, since I had both girls with me. We saw a nieghbor working on a car, and asked if there was a kid named Dillan that lived nearby. He said yes, and pointed to a tan house on the north side of the tracks. It didn't match the directions, but I didn't have a lot of options, so we tried that door. All that happened when we knocked is that we activated the large, scary dog in a crate.
By this time, Hope was screaming, and we were all sweaty. So we sat in the car with the air on, and Harmony and I prayed that we'd find Henry, and that he was safe. We drove around the block with the school in the middle, to see if they'd stayed late...not there either.
We parked and tried the first house again...still no answer. Knocked on several other doors on both sides. Several people knew that Dillan lived in the scary tan house, so we tried there again.
By now it was 7:45--we had been looking for 45 minutes. I didn't have my phone with me, so we went back to the house and got the phone. I called Henry's coach and got their phone number, and left a message for the preschool director, asking for their address. I tried calling, but the number was busy...several times.
We got back and started knocking on doors again. And as we were going to the scary tan house for the third time, Dillan's dad drove by, looking for us.
They lived a block over, on Water Street...not Elm, where we'd been looking. Henry was hot, sweaty and happy from playing with Dillan for an hour...I was hot, sweaty, and on the verge of tears.
That was the first and the last time my children will go on a playdate to a house I don't konw. And I will always get the cell phone numbers of the parents!
Thanks, Lord, that You knew where Henry was the whole time he was gone, and for protecting him.