Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Heart Attack a Day Keeps Tranquility Away

I had a major stressful scare today.

Four days a week my youngest child goes to morning preschool, and every day I pick him and his friend Camila up after school and we drive Camila home. She lives about 5 houses down from us. Her parents both work full time, but she has a babysitter at her house. My son is very chivalrous and loves to walk Camila to her door and drop her off every day. So that's our routine. I pull up in the driveway, Camila and my little guy get out and he walks her to the door, the babysitter lets her in, my kid gets back in the car, and we go home.

So today we got there and there was a different car in the driveway, but it's one I've sometimes seen there. So, no problem. The kids get out of the car and walk to the door that she usually goes in, and nobody comes to it, so they go to a different door. The door opens, Camila goes in, my kid gets in the car, and we go home.

And an hour later Camila's babysitter is at my door to pick up Camila.

And I don't have Camila, because I took her home.

And assumably left her with her babysitter.

Who now tells me she had not been there.

Because she was at a doctor's appointment.

And supposedly Camila's mom was going to call me this morning to ask me to keep Camila here until the sitter could pick her up.

But she didn't.

And so I ask my son, "Who was at Camila's house when we took her home?"

"Her visitor."

"What visitor?"

"I don't know. Her visitor that's always there."

"You mean her babysitter?"

"Yeah, I guess."

So I tell the sitter that someone was there, and she figures that maybe Camila's mom just called someone else to hang out at the house to take care of Camila until they could get there.

I mentioned that a red car was there. The sitter says that yes, that was her car, but she had left her car there and taken a different car to the doctor's appointment because it had more seating that was needed.

So she leaves, and I'm left wondering, If the car that was there was left behind by the sitter, who on earth was at the house? Because there was only one car in the driveway.

And I start asking my four year old the same questions in different sorts of ways.

"Was the person at Camila's house a woman?"


"What color hair did the person have?"

"Maybe kinda like yours."

And eventually I hit on the most important question:

"Did you actually SEE a grown up at Camila's house?"



And I'm starting to feel a heavy sense of dread.

After a couple minutes I call over there to make sure that everything is ok with Camila. But that's not what I find out.

"Camila's not here! We can't find her anywhere. We are looking under all the beds."

I felt like I was going to faint.

Had I managed to drop off a five year old at an empty house?! Or with a stranger? Just today a story came out in our local paper about Camila's family, and there was a picture of the girls. Had some creep broken into their house and taken off with my son's best friend?! My friend's child?!

I just about burst into tears, threw on a jacket, grabbed my keys, told my older kids that I had to go over to Camila's real fast because there was an emergency. I felt like I was going to die from stress overload.

I got there in a minute to relaxed faces telling me that everything was ok, that Camila's mom had come to pick her up, and all is well. Phew!

Which was great, except, Camila's mom's car was not there when I dropped Camila off, which left me wondering about that small detail of Was There An Adult At The House When I Left Camila?

So all afternoon I have been stressing, waiting until I could see Camila's mom when she brought two of my children home from school. Her version of the story was very interesting.

At about 11:10 she was in the middle of working when she said, "God beeped me, and I just knew that I needed to call home." So she called, and Camila answered, in tears, because she was all alone and didn't know what to do.

Fortunately, her mom works about 3 minutes away from home and was able to drop everything and go get her daughter, while talking to her on the phone the whole way.

What time had I dropped Camila off? 11:05 or so.

And why was it at 11:05?

Because the clock in the preschool class was messed up, and so the preschoolers didn't get out to the cars until 10 minutes after they normally would have been.

And so, those are a couple of pretty nice coincidences, eh?

Interestingly, whereas I've been about to die of stress all day, Camila's mom was very relaxed about it. To her, it was pretty simple. God was helping her, nobody was hurt, and she realized that they should get a kid-friendly phone list on the wall in case Camila or her little sister ever needs to make a phone call. We will also make sure that either I always take Camila to the door and do a fingerprinting and retina scan of the person I leave her with oops! I mean I will make sure that I get visual confirmation that a responsible adult caregiver is there.

To those of you that would like to turn this into an example of why mothers should never work and all that jazz, just. don't. I know what you're saying. But I'm not going to bash my friend for her situation or decisions, and you aren't either. Not here, anyhow.

If you want to bash me, well, you can't say anything worse to me than I've said to myself today. Live and learn, they say. And I will.


Amie said...

Oh man! I actually got chills when I read about the mom feeling like she needed to call home.

Mimi said...

Yikes, yikes, yikes! We all have those things happen, but yikes, I had a heart attack reading the story.

And, I agree, God was certainly looking out for Camilla! thanks be to God!