That right there is the sound of my heart beating again.
You know, being a mom there are a few things I can think of that would terrify me. Things that would make my heart stop for a minute or two. One of my children getting life threatening cancer... one of them getting hit by a car.... one of them wandering too far from home and I can't find them. Can you guess which one happened today?
Oren had been asking me all morning if he could ride his bike. For some reason I really didn't feel comfortable letting him, we had somewhere to be this afternoon and I didn't want to have to track him down and risk being late to our WIC appointment. (we really needed the checks.) So I told him no.
When we got home he didn't ask because he knew we were headed straight for T-ball, so he got his stuff ready and we all took off. But when we got home from that Mark had a church meeting to run to, and I started dinner. He started asking again, and I still really didn't want to say yes. Finally I gave in, the constant asking was getting annoying. I told him he could ride his bike 3 times around the circle, we live at the end of a culdesac, and then he was to come back in because dinner would be ready. Several minutes went by, he didn't come in. I looked out the front door and saw there were kids at the big park at the end of the street, so figured he had taken off down there and he would be back in a few minutes. I put William down to bed, sat Nathan down with a movie, and went walking to go get Oren, his dinner was cold. Not at the little park by our house, not at the big park down the street, not at the park at the end of the next street, or the street across from our street. There's lots of parks.... Not on the bike path that winds down behind our house. Peeved....Panic.....Praying.
I woke William up, threw him and Nathan in the car, checked with a neighbor if she had seen them, she sent her son around on his bike, and I drove up and down every street in our neighborhood. Not a sign of him. I thought I would have to call the police and have the patrols search the neighborhood, because the sun was starting to set and visibility would soon be low. Then the thought hit me that he likes to ride way down to the school with Daddy, and to some parks in different neighborhoods. Part of that "daddy special time", the part I don't really like because it might make Oren feel like he has permission to wander that far by himself. I turned out of the neighborhood toward the school, and pulled up at the first park on the way there. There were some kids playing and I asked if they had seen a little blond boy on a red.... And there he was. Not a clue he had done something wrong. I have walked that far from my house and it takes at least 15 minutes. I would say that is beyond voice range, and way to far for my particular 6-year old.
I yelled the whole way home, grounded him until he grows too big for the bike (or at least 2 weeks...) and sent him to bed without dinner. I have never been so afraid. I was crying a good part of the way home, and it is hard to cry when you are yelling. I know Mark will be mad because I let Oren ride his bike by himself, but I had set clear boundries where he is allowed to ride, and I am not the one that has been taking him all over the place! Usually I can trust him to stay where I say, but this one time is it. Daddy is not taking him on those bike rides for a good long time!
It got me thinking though that I am so grateful we are on base. There is only so far he can go before hitting a fence, although the fence is pretty far out there. People aren't going to kidnap him, or strangle him on base. I know there are still bad people on a base, it's not totally safe. But the world has changed so much from when I was that age. I rode everywhere! But I can't let Oren. There are cayotes (spelling?) and wolves around the base borders. There are still child molesters out there. There are cars that drive fast and don't watch for small children on bikes. Base isn't totally safe, but it is better than living in a questionable neighborhood outside. I hope I scared him enough that he doesn't do that again, and I hope that I will be able to let him go when he is ready...