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?”
“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.