How Strong are You?

Yesterday was a bad day.

The day before was GREAT…I mean really really great. Thursday was hubby’s work Christmas Party and for once I really relaxed. Even did a kicking impersonation of Beyonce (gladly nothing on film…ahem)

But Friday was a shocker. I’m clearly a little tired. I have one cranky Ranier who has been disciplined, and finally there is some silence in the house – and then that horrid thought.

“Where is Rainer?”

Searched everywhere in the house, outside in the yard. The front gates are secure.

“Where is Rainer?”
Off I head to our local walking track along the creek. We walk that often so he is familiar with the layout. I park at the bridge and walk/run back toward the house.

“Where is Rainer?”

Father-in-Law arrives with Mackinley and while FIL continues along the track to the shopping centre, I take a quick trip to some other spots. His old pre-school, our friends’ house, the scout den, another friends’ house.

“Where is Rainer?”
We get to the shopping centre and he’s nowhere. I run to our favourite cafe and tell the owner what has happened. She can’t stop crying, and neither can I. Poor Mackinley is watching his Mum lose it so I try to stay calm.

We bump into another friend. They drop everything and go searching the next section of the track toward the soccer club. She will call me.

I give up and it’s been 30 minutes. I bravely walk with Mackinley across the road to the Police Station and I fall apart…..naturally.

Luckily the duty officer tells me he has someone in his family with Autism so he begins by apologising for the raft of questions to come. It wasn’t so bad. He knew exactly the kind of boy Rainer is. He is not judging me and the rest of the officers are so kind and professional. A child who cannot speak and doesn’t understand safety is missing. I’m not worried for him, I’m concerned about adults who might take advantage. There have been attempted abductions in our neighbourhood this year and my heart is pumping furiously, but I have to stay calm and not think about that.

Mackinley is quietly crying. I hug him and we cry together.

The information has been despatched. “We’ll find him,” the duty officer says.

“Oh God,” I think. “What if……..”

So it’s back into the car and we continue to scope the neighbourhood. Another hour or so – I can’t remember – has passed and I decide to check behind the soccer club and see another officer looking into the creek. I don’t know what to think. We discuss calling in the dog squad before his scent goes cold and I want the dogs …. now, earlier, 5 minutes ago. My friend arrives from the track with her girls and tells me a couple had seen Rainer walking, grumpily, about 30 minutes earlier. Instead of getting cranky at the couple for not reporting it, I focus on finding my boy. I know the couple she’s talking about, I’ll get them later…or not. That won’t help things.

The officer tells me to go home. I drive down the hill to my house and am sick at the sight of all the police vehicles outside my house. The Senior Sgt has a map of our area on the bonnet of his car and the noise from the 2-way radios is dulling my head. I tell my Mother-in-Law I need to go inside. It’s been about 3 hours now and I just need to have a drink, go to the toilet, close the door, and cry. I avoid going back outside for a while. I don’t want to know what’s going on. I need some space, to clear my head and think of Mackinley. I hug him….. a lot. I tell him I Love Him and that I love his brother. He cries again and I tell him he’s the best, bravest, strongest 10 year old boy I know.

I walk outside again. I say again I want the dog squad because it will start to get dark in a few hours. Hubby has come home from work and drives to our old house to search that and our old neighbours’ houses. You never know.

Father-in-Law can’t sit still. He goes back along the street where his old pre-school is.

It’s been 3 hours since I walked into the police station and I’m tired, so so so tired.

I begin walking toward the house to sit on our front porch.

My Mother-in-Law cries out, “Gi!!!! THEY FOUND HIM!!”

I nearly faint, but I don’t. We hug lots. I can tell the officers almost want a hug too – but I don’t. I just say, “Thank You” a lot.

My Father-in-Law found him in the phone box outside his old pre-school (where everyone had searched a million times already) making pretend phone calls and happily sitting and “chatting”. He saw his Pa’s truck and ran towards him. Some other police turned up at the same time, saw Rainer get in the truck and POUNCED! Poor Pa had to answer a lot of questions and show ID before they believed him. Fair enough too.

He arrives home in one piece. He’s picked up some new Ice Age toys from somewhere. Rainer can’t tell me where he’s been and I don’t think that’ll happen for many years to come.

My eyes are stinging, my feet are sore and I have one of those, what I call, “grief headaches”. The Cafe owners call back. They haven’t been able to think straight all day and are crying over the phone. My friend turns up with her girls. She stays for a cup of tea and we chat for an hour or so.  I tell her I’m closing everything down; the blog, the business, all of it. I know she wants to slap me, but calmly reminds me that my creativity is what keeps me sane and it makes me happy. Yes, it does. So I make a promise to her that I won’t do anything rash.

The duty officer calls before his shift ends and wishes us well before telling me again he knows what I’m going through. I don’t ask questions or make suppositions. I’m too tired. All I know is that he must really understand.

We have breakfast as a family at the Cafe this morning and all is normal, except for more hugs with the owners and crying that everything worked out for the best.

Mackinley and I have a little de-briefing session tonight before he goes to sleep. I still can’t get in touch with my Mother to tell her what’s happened, and I feel bad about that.

So, to say “I am Stronger” is probably not correct. Have I “endured” more than I’d hoped? YES. Will this make me a better person? NOT SURE. Will I be more vigilant? MOST LIKELY. Will I give Rainer a little more slack? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Does an event like this chip away at me? DEFINITELY.

To be your own worst critic when the rest of the world already judges you for having a child with a disability….well, that’s just destructive. I’m going to try and find a way to forgive myself for letting this happen. I’m not quite sure what that will be, but I already know there will be slight changes to the way our family (and GiSt Creative) will work in 2012 and beyond.

Rainer, however, will continue to be disciplined for harming me or his brother and for not waiting for his turn and so on. I’m not afraid of his tantrums. But the next time he storms out the back door, someone will be following him.

Because we all want to know how he escaped.

24 thoughts on “How Strong are You?

  1. Donna White says:

    Oh honey… I haven’t stopped thinking about you and your gorgeous family since you sent me that text last night. I wish I was closer so I could give you all a hug….and the support that you need. I am always just a phone call away if you need to talk. Please don’t stop creating, that is one part of your life that you are truly in control of, and it brings you such joy.
    Give both your boys a hug from me.
    Lots of love D xxx

  2. Lena Lynes says:

    Oh Giovanna! What an absolute nightmare…I’m so sorry you had to go through this experience…

    Good luck with fine-tuning your business activities to accommodate the needs of your special child. Please be kind to yourself, some people are given more challenges in life than others and you are only human…
    Love, Lena

  3. Lisa Kamphuis says:

    Oh babe – I have tears thinking of you and your heartbreak – so glad hes safe and sound! You are the most amazing Mum and an amazing family. You are infinitely strong!!

  4. Steph Mitchell says:

    I can’t begin to imagine how you must have felt but it must have been a blessing to have such an understanding officer on duty and I’m so pleased it all turned out okay. I was beginning to tear up and then I read the last line! It would seem you haven’t lost your sense of humour!
    Just a thought, is he missing the school routine?

  5. Charmane Koch says:

    OH MY GOODNESS Gigi – you must have been absolutely beside yourself!!! I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through such a stressed out time – as you know I freak out hearing what you have to deal with as YOU ARE THE STRONGEST person I know… LOVE you too bits and please do not give up your creative side, I know you wont…. and How strong am I??? i definitely know i would be a terrible mess after what you went through {{{HUGS}}} xoxo

  6. Lauren Bell says:

    Oh Gi, I cannot begin to imagine what you must have been feeling. What a terrifying thing to happen. Glad to hear he is home safe and sound. Don’t be too hard on yourself – you are an amazing mother! I take my hat off to you. xx

  7. Leah Cameron says:

    Oh Gigi, tears in my eyes here, even after reading the last line! I cannot imagine how you coped, I know for a fact I would not have been as strong as you. Thank goodness he was found okay (does make me wonder what little adventures he had been up to in the meantime though, doesn’t it??). Onwards and upwards gorgeous lady, I don’t think you realise how much of an inspiration to the rest of us you are. Love and cyber hugs, Leah xxx

  8. Angela says:

    Gi, what a nightmare event! My heart aches – you are strong & you should not give up doing what you love – one day you’ll be able to look back & laugh at this, but you did do the right thing & you are an amazing mother!!!! Xo

  9. SamJ says:

    OMG Gi, I am sitting here with tears pouring down my face. You are a brilliant mother and person. I hope you never ever doubt that. I am so very glad that he was found. I can only begin to imagine what you were going through. But please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.


  10. Julie Short says:

    My Heart goes out to you Gigi,
    I can indeed imagine your utter terror.
    Having taught for many years I have had a number of very beautiful but challenging students with autism. I have “lost” a student on a couple of occassions. I have helped parents to search for children and have also gone to assist in a number of potentially dangerous situations.
    There are still, in my life a number of ex students who are now almost adults and I know it may not help you at the moment but when I talk with them and see them now their journey has been remarkable.
    Love your boy with all your heart but know you are there as his guide and as another writer has said you may just be able in the future look back and see a different side to your story.
    Be comforted by the wonderful response you had from so many people.

  11. LJ says:

    Hi Honey, hope you have destressed a little now, I know exactly what you went through, last year my best friends son (also autistic) disappeared for over 18 hours, I went through over 14 of those hours with her (he took off at 3 in the morning) and one thing for all the negative comments they get, the QLD police are the best in that kind of situation. I was the one who took the phone call when he finally found someone to help him use the phone and the relief is immeasurable. Hope this week is a lot quieter for you. xoxo

  12. nicolee cable says:

    OMGoodness Gigi! I’m so sorry you & your family have had such a horrid experience! Will definitely pray for you, that Gods biggest angels will watch over & protect your lil man …..’he will give his angels charge over you’. biggest {{hugs}} as you keep your lil man close! take some time out for yourself my friend!! XXX

  13. Cherie says:

    I am so sorry that you have had to go through such a gut wrenching & terrifying incident Gi😦
    I cried when i read this. You are an amazing mum & a fabulous, humorous & super talented lady.
    I hope you NEVER give up creating & i pray that you find a balance that you can cope with.
    Sending massive {{{Hugs}}} to you xoxo

  14. Deb says:

    Hey Gigi, just letting you know I’m thinking of you. What an awful thing to go through but you need to keep creating. Take care. You are an amazing person and mother. xx

  15. Allie Collyer says:

    Oh Gigi what a terrifying ordeal for you😦 I just can’t imagine how awful it would have been for those hours. Be kind to yourself, you are an amazing Mum and your creativity is part of you and a great release and it would be so sad to give it up. Many hugs xox

  16. Narelle aka Sassy Doiley says:

    I haven’t been around to your blog for a long time but reading your Facebook page led nd here. From this distance hugs and words are all I have to offer. You are a wonderful Mum and your children are so lucky to have you.
    Love Narelle xx

  17. Karen Hickey Lamberton says:

    Oh Gi. I can only imagine the grief you have experienced in this situation. Look at the many comments of support, and take note. Imagine what you would say to a good friend, if this was their experience, and take your own advice. You are VERY strong and capable and you WILL overcome the negativity you are experiencing – this too, shall pass. It’s not going to be easy or quick, so give yourself time and space. It’s not your fault, there is no ‘fault’. It is one of the more difficult lessons that life throws at us. When you think you are alone, remember that God is with you. If He takes you to it, He WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH IT! My prayers are with you & for you. When the doubts creep in, and the despair and the questions threaten to overcome you, ask God for just a little more strength! He will be there, with your Dad, too!
    Take care of yourself, while you are caring for everyone else!
    Have a GREAT Christmas!…….Love from Karen

  18. San Staples says:

    Only thing i can send you a hug and for you to know that many of us out here know completely how it feels. Being all you can be for yourself in this world is hard enough, but being it for another doubles the work, we gain strength from each others journeys. Thank god he is safe back in your arms.

  19. Kerry Murray says:

    Hey Gi just got on here and read about Rainer,you poor thing i know you must have been beside yourself.Dont beat yourself up as tha can happen to any of us s so easily.
    I know ow much time and effort you put in to both your boys i am just so happy that they found him safe and well.take care big hugs and i will chat soon love Kerry xx

  20. Michelle Jamieson says:

    Hi Gi…Your post brought me to tears!
    I can imagine you would be beside yourself. I would of been and my children could talk to someone around them. I don’t have a child with autism. It must of been so very scary for you. I can’t imagine your world, as trying and frustrating as it must be at times.
    I agree with the other girls who’ve left you comments.
    Don’t give up on your blog or your business and the passion you have for your craft. You are a talented addition to our wonderful world of craftiness!
    Thinking of you, beautiful lady. If you ever need a cuppa to have a chat, be sure to let me know. I’m not far away…
    Chelle Xx

  21. Fiona Winn says:

    Oh Gi I am so sorry that you had to endure such a horrific experience. You are a wonderful mother and person. I am glad that Rainier was found safe and sound and hioefully, now, you are able to de-stress a little. And don’t ever give up on your creative side as you are so very talented. I hope that you are able to make it all work in 2012 in a way that is best for you and your family.
    Fiona xxx

  22. Coleen Franks says:

    What a challenge Gio. Thanks for sharing it here. I”m glad to have found your blog. Be forgiving of yourself. Things like this happen and cause us to learn and grow. Is Rainier autistic?
    Blessings, Coleen

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