I don’t know what’s got into me lately, but I have this awful paranoia about everything lately. I think, a large part of it stems from the car break in, but mostly, it comes from personal experience, and the stories of friends. Siobhan rang me from school today. This child, is the most trustworthy, smart, beautiful creature you’ve ever laid eyes on. To have her call me from school, is to put it lightly, extremely out of character. “Mum!” she says. “The teacher got the days wrong, and we actually have the wearable arts practice today from 4 until 6pm. So if you can come and pick me up then that would be good!” I’m all “oh! Well. Sure. That’s okay.” We discuss Aleeya and Siobhan offers to walk her home, to which I tell her that Aleeya will be fine. She needs to get used to walking alone, and while she’s my baby and I don’t much like the thought of it, Siobhan was walking home alone at 6 – at that stage, to be fair, we only lived five houses away. But still. It’s a ten minute walk, it’s fine.
Aleeya gets home on time, and goes off to do whatever it is she gets up to, which usually involves scissors, lots of paper, and every piece of available crafting paper she can find. She showed me a card she made yesterday, it was astoundingly gorgeous. I was very impressed, and she was super proud. And then, we bundled ourselves up nice and warm, because 6pm is pretty dark and cold, and wandered off down to the school.
We get there, and everything is dark. There are no people anywhere…my child is no where to be seen. We walked through the school, went into the office, and the woman behind the desk said “Oh, I don’t know.” When I asked her about the kids who’d gone off with this teacher. Okay good. That’s a good thing to say to a parent. “I don’t know where your child is! Sorry! But you can wait in here if you like.” Uhm. No. I do not like. So we went out again, and wandered around, and saw some kids. “Are you looking for the Guides?” They ask, very helpfully. Erm. No…No one is around. Fifteen minutes later, no one is around, and there are no other parents. There are nine kids on this trip, where the hell are the parents? You can imagine, that by this stage, I’m starting to panic a little. Then I think, we’re sort of on the way home…maybe, the teacher dropped her off.
I don’t have a cellphone right now, and neither does Siobhan. Ollie’s put my simcard in his, but it has no money on it, and I have no one’s numbers anyway, so it’s of absolutely no use. I have no way to contact my 12 year old daughter. So we start heading towards home, and turning around whenever it looks like a car is heading into the school. We walked up and down the street twice. Aleeya ran into the carpark twice and came back with nothing. It’s 6.30pm and any semblance of self control that I have, is slowly beginning to leak into sheer and utter panic. Then we see another car.
We headed back for the third time, and Aleeya ran up to see if it was her sister. This time..it was. She comes walking down with another girl and she’s all “see ya!” And I’m so relieved, and SO terrified that I exploded in anger. I’m yelling at her, and telling her how we just spent the last 30 minutes terrified because we didn’t know where she was. And I’m stalking off silent, because I can’t think straight, and Ollie turns up in the car. We get in, and he goes “what happened?” And I burst into a fit of tears and just hollared about how she said 6pm, and NO other parents were around and I thought something terrible had happened to her.
We got home and the poor wee soul disappears into her room. I’d been so mad that I’d told her she wasn’t going to any more of those things. She’s the model, she -has- to go. It seemed right in my angryrelieved mind at the time. And I’m still crying, and I know I’m stupid and wrong, so I go off to find her and sit beside her on her bed, and she goes “I’m sorry!” And I went “No, I’M sorry! I was so scared, and I should never have gotten angry at you like that” And we just sort of cuddled and snerveled and comforted each other, and afterwards, she was perfectly content and fine, and I’m writing this, still misty eyed over it all. God, internet. I really thought something terrible had happened. That all the kids parents had been and gone and that she’d been taken by someone.
I kept thinking, how the hell will I survive when she goes out with her friends? I’m usually the okay one. It’s Ollie who panicks. But no..this time it was me. I kept telling her that I didn’t know what I’d do if I lost her. And I really don’t. Just the mere thought of it is crippling. It’s like, when she was finally there in front of me, I’d been punched in the stomach. I couldn’t think rationally. I wasn’t “OMG YOU’RE OKAY!” I was “YOU SAID SIX O’CLOCK! YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO ONE OF THOSE AGAIN!” What happens, I wonder…in your brain to make you have that reaction. I don’t know, but I really hope I don’t feel it again. Tomorrow she’s going out to a Guide’s friend’s night with a friend, and then Wednesday she has another rehearsal for this show they’re doing. It’s not that I don’t trust her at all, I definitely do, she’s the kid I know will always do what I tell her to, even though lately it’s getting a little whiny and recalcitrant. She has a good head on her shoulders, but she’s still just a child, and she would be so easily overcome. You know? I just felt so incredibly helpless. And you know what? It really didn’t help that I couldn’t call or text her.
I never thought I’d be the sort of person to miss a cellphone, but man, I really, really do.