Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kid 3 was missing Friday afternoon. And an hour late home from school turned into a lifetime for Fireman Dave

Kid 3 was missing Friday afternoon.  And by missing I mean we couldn't find him ANYWHERE.  And we live two blocks from the school.  So when he didn't come home, maybe you can imagine the panic.  

On a scale of fear, ranked 1 to 10, 10 being totally on the edge of losing control of all your senses and possibly your faculties, husband was a 9.  I would dare to say he was crossing over to a 10, but he was still able to drive the car around the neighborhood looking for our boy so he was still in partial working order.  I was probably a 6 to start with since it had only been a little while the kid had been missing.  And I know my kid and the strong possibility of forgetfulness and/or confusion on his part.   But then husband worked me up to equal his fear level and made me want to search every car trunk within a 5 mile radius when he yelled at me over the phone and I could hear he had crossed over from worry to totally freaked out.  

So then I picked up Kid 1 from the high school and kid 2 arrived home from the bus and all was quiet as we waited and tried to figure out what to do next.  And husband drove all the likely places.  And the school did a campus wide search for him but with no luck.  And I was calling and texting everyone under the sun that may have seen anything to give us a hint about where to look next.  And when the school principal asked if we wanted to file a police report, it became more real than I ever want to feel again.  

Skipping to the end... Kid 3 was found safely and all is well.  And when we saw him it was totally one of those I love you and I'm glad you're safe -  but now I'm going to kill you moments.  

But as I thought more about it over the weekend and I let the worry about the kid pass, I realized that the fear husband had during that hour or so was both powerful and real.  It wasn't just worry over a kid home late from school.  It was years of being Fireman Dave and living with things that he has never and will probably never tell me.  

So... I'm no expert on the post traumatic stress symptoms of firefighters.  But I'm married to one who is.   I'm not even an expert on the what he does at the station each day.  I know he cooks three meals a day for the guys and they do chores around the fire house like they do at their own homes.  And they grocery shop and take care of stuff  I can't even name.  And they host lots of tours and entertain plenty of kids who one day want to be firemen.  And oh yes, they save lives.  And they prevent a whole lot of bad things from getting worse -  and they stop a few altogether.  And they clean up a lot of messes.  Messes we don't even want to think about.  And they patch people up and carry them places and pick them up when they've fallen.  And they're really good at soothing the worry of others and putting their own aside till they can tend to it later.   

I've heard about shootings and stabbings and bridge jumpers and people hanging in places that make me sad.  I've heard stories of people who have given up hope so much that they finally gave up and husband was called to clean up what was left.  I've heard of countless crimes and assaults and late night runs on people that are determined to hurt each other if they haven't already.  And I've seen husband on the news cleaning up at murder scenes and helping little old ladies out of flooded roads.   And I know there are more things he hasn't told me than those he has.   

And I've lived through the years where all the bad took such a toll on his spirit that he wasn't  the same sweet man I married.  Those were the prime years of acreage shopping, dreaming, and wanting to move his family away from the bad.  I think he finally decided that we'll never be able to move far enough away to be away from the bad.  

But when he finally got the chance to change areas of town and work in a more peaceful environment, he got better.  Or at least he acts like it.  But I know he can't ever un-see what he's seen.  And he'll never forget the sounds and smells and pictures of places he's been.  But he's usually really good about keeping it away from home.  Till Friday afternoon when he had daytime nightmares about his own kid.  And an hour late from school turned into a lifetime for Fireman Dave.   So as the minutes ticked by and our kid was no where he was supposed to be, husband's mind went right to the bad.  I don't think he could help it.  

So we do what we can to teach our kids how to be safe and stay safe.  And I know the guys at the fire station do the best they can for each other to make sure everyone goes home the next morning from work.  But I'm not sure how to take care of the rest.  

post script... Kid 3 was found playing Frisbee with the youth minister at a nearby church about an hour and a half after school let out.  About an hour into the search we got a tip that he was well and good and was seen headed out our back gate after coming home and finding the door locked.  We thanked the neighbor's tree trimming crew for that bit of info and their watchful eyes.  

He was scheduled for a doctor appointment that afternoon right after school.  So when he took too long to get home, husband locked up the house and drove to where he thought the kid would walk past.  We live a tiny two blocks from the school for heaven's sake.... but they managed to miss each other.   He had gone to  the church that sometimes hosts an after school basketball play time for the kids that walk home alone.  He said that's the only place he thought of to go and call us.  But we pointed out that he didn't call our cell phones.  And WHY?????  I guess because he didn't know we weren't home because we were out searching everywhere thinking he had been kidnapped.  

It turned out to be a happy ending, but it added a few worry lines around my eyes.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Kristi,

    I'll pray for you and your sweet boy. I know how hard it can be to fight for your child and I know how overwhelming the weight of ADD can be for them. Please know you're not alone. I hope the alternative school plan works out for you.

    Thinking of you,


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