Honey, I Lost The Kid

There is nothing lonelier than seeing other people go about their day completely unaware that you've just been to a spot where you expected to see your child waiting for you and she wasn't there.

Where is she? Why isn't she here? Did we get our signals crossed? Did she bike left and I ran right? Is she hurt?

Maybe that's her biking up the hill. She always waits for me at the top of the hill. She's not there. She likes to ride fast down the hill, I am sure she'll be there at the bottom waiting for me. She's not there. I look around. She wouldn't get this far ahead of me. We've been biking/running these routes for 3 summers and it is not like us to be separated like this.

Where is Tarah? I am about 2 miles into a 4 mile loop and as far away from the start/finish as I can be. Do I go back . . . or keep moving forward?

There is a strip mall up ahead so I run to a phone closest to the bike path and call a friend. Please help me, I can't find Tarah. I get back on the path hoping she'll see me. I don't see her anywhere. My head starts to spin while my world stands still. Then panic strikes. I flag down one car and then another. One very kind woman <a mom> quickly begins to drive the bike route while another gentleman calls 911.

Within minutes, it all comes together. As I am on the phone with the dispatcher, my friend's husband pulls up and tells me his wife is with Tarah back at the car and she is fine. The other mom returns -   someone had seen Tarah and she offers to take me there. I tell her Tarah is now with a friend of mine and thank her profusely for stopping and looking. The gentleman with the phone left before I had a chance to properly thank him. After speaking with the police, I head to my daughter.

With my permission, Tarah had taken a quick detour to bike around the school parking lot as I kept running. When she headed back to the trail and did not see me, she thought that I was ahead of her. She biked to catch up with me and when she did not see me, headed to our finishing point thinking I was already there. When I was not, she opened her bike pack, took out the car keys and my BB and was going to call a family friend in town.

See, the kid had the BB the whole time. So when I ran to the first phone to call a friend, I could have called Tarah. When I asked the gentleman to call 911, I could have asked him to call Tarah. I did not know where my little girl was and I had to find her. I wasn't thinking straight.

Tarah kept her wits much better than I did. It's cool that she thought I was running so fast she had to bike to catch up with me. Cool, but not reality. What's real is that this little girl is the very center of my entire world.

Honey, I found the kid. 

Confidence, The School Bus and Taking the First Step

We went through the drill.

Retracing our footsteps from both Wednesday's Open House and our quiet Thursday night visit to the empty middle school, we talked through bus drop off, locker location, homeroom and the 3 classroom periods. The lunch routine will vary from elementary school but she had the basics down: hop in a food line, make healthy choices and remember your lunch code. Find your lunch buddy, grab a seat and sit down to eat.

Homeroom #801, Language Arts #818, Math #814, Art #675.

Two elementary schools converging onto 1 middle school and 350+ 5th graders walking alongside those from 6th through 8th. One common area with 4 classroom wings, separate but together, curious but not really all that interested in anything but finding friends from last year and <maybe> getting to homeroom on time. 

What should I do if the teacher is not by the bus? Not by the lockers? Nowhere in site? Head for the homeroom kid, that's where she'll wind up. But, but, but . . . no worries, you'll be wonderful. A little nervousness is natural but there's nothing to fear.

I know you are ready for this. You are much better equipped for this than I was. Your goals are to make a new friend. My goal when I was your age was to not make eye contact with any one. Yes, really. What? Are you laughing at me? Does it make you feel better? Good. That's what I am going for.

Now, put on your confidence clothes, grab your back pack and let's hit the road. The first step you take onto the school bus this morning will be the biggest step you'll take today. You've got this one kid. It's all down hill from here.