Jyl wrote this post on her blog (Mommy Gossip) a few of weeks back and I asked her to repost it here On The Flipside because it is a great topic. Read this post and then offer your opinion/answer in the comments. And ... don't forget to go over and visit Jyl's site - she has a great blog and beautiful family. Thanks so much Jyl!
Can I Make My Own Amber Alert?
I live in the desert. No, people here don't have cacti or rocks in their yards, but we certainly do our fair share of praying for rain and when the stunning Rocky Mountains aren't covered with snow, they turn a lovely shade of brown and beg the heavens to part and pour out blessings upon them in the form of tiny liquid drops. We especially love a good rainstorm, because—in addition to the much needed moisture—it allows us to know what we are talking about when we use the phrase "On God's Green Earth."
Yesterday, the seemingly impossible happened: It rained. It even hailed for a few seconds. We missed the sunshine. We missed going boating on Labor Day. And… we missed something far more important than all of that. We missed our kids. But wait! Weren't they just here at home with us a few seconds ago? Where did they go? Where are they?
10 Minutes Before the Rainstorm
The boys said they were going to ride their bikes down to Tator Tot's house to play. The Potato Head Family are great friends of ours and only live two doors down. Our kids play together often, so when the boys mentioned they were heading out the door, I didn't give it another thought and off they went.
10 Minutes Later
THUNDER. LIGHTENING. RAIN. HAIL. Did I say LOUD THUNDER?
I opened the door to see the sky opening, pouring pearls of moisture on our scorched grass. Drops fell so consistently, I was tempted to reach my hand out and part them like clear, plastic beads in the doorway of a 60s teenager's room. I took in the sound, the smell, the breeze as time stood still under the palm tree patio on my oasis front yard. Deciding whether to run through the streets like I did when I was a girl (only this time with my clothes on), my overflowing emotions screeched to a halt when I suddenly realized Red Rover and Chatter Box are very afraid of the thunder. My plans to sing "Purple Rain"—or better yet, "I Love a Rainy Night," because when has rain ever been purple?"—while reliving my childhood were replaced with an immediate call to the neighbors. Bad news... Mrs. Potato Head said she hadn't seen hide nor hair of the boys all morning.
45 Minutes Later
For 45 minutes, T-Daddy drove through the neighborhood with no sight of the boys or their bikes anywhere. No bikes? That scared us. At home base, I called every person I could think of. I asked myself: "Where on God's Green Earth could these boys be?" (See how this phrase comes in handy?) In an attempt to enlist the semi-professionals, I tried calling the people in the hood who were in charge of the emergency phone tree (apparently, the jungle was on vacation too, because no one answered).
At about 35 minutes, the storm stopped and for 10 minutes I waited with baited breath for T-Daddy's call with the boys squealing with laughter as they rode their bikes on the wet streets. I mean how else is the ditty "rain, rain go away, come again another day," supposed to end other than "so we can go outside and play," right? But, when they didn't surface after the storm, I seriously debated whether or not to call the cops and kicked myself for not participating in the local child identity program, where they take pictures of kids to help in these kinds of circumstances. I heard you can't call the cops until a child has been missing for 24 hours, but I was frantic. Then, I started thinking what can happen in 45 minutes to a child. I started to think about Amber Alerts and Elizabeth Smart. I mean, her family doesn't live THAT far from here. So, maybe that means that abductions are even more common in these parts? (I actually thought that!) As I was trying to figure out how to put into action my own Amber Alert, T-Daddy suggested one last family to call.
Sure enough! My boys arrived at this gal's house right as the storm was hitting. They had such a great time playing that they didn't even hear the thunder. They had parked their bikes in her garage, which were impossible to see from the road once she shut the door to keep the water out. What I didn't want to hear was that she had wanted to call us, but we recently changed our cell phone numbers and she didn't know the new ones—neither did our kids nor any of our other neighbors for that matter. SMART! That meant we had to take some accountability. I hate that!
All's well that ends well, right? Sure! The kids were happy and we were alerted to the fact that we are horribly unprepared parents. Learn from experience, right? Still… I have questions rolling around in my head. When do you call the cops? What if the boys had not been at this neighbor's house? What if the unthinkable had happened? A lot can happen in 45 minutes. It made me think and wonder. How do you get your duckies in a row to prepare for such an atrocity? How do you teach your kids about stranger danger so that it really sticks? And, finally, what is the best way to discipline them when they go missing?
Originally Posted by http://mommygossip.blogspot.com9/1/08at 11:52 PM