It's been 4 hours and I'm still recovering from one of the biggest scares of my life. I woke up from a nap this afternoon and my four oldest kids were GONE!!
Before I laid down, I told Michael that I didn't want them going outside when I was sleeping - Eric was out chopping wood and then was on his way to look at a truck 45 minutes from home. So, of course, I didn't want the kids out in the snow with no one around to supervise.
When I got up, my two little ones had come downstairs from their naps and the four older ones were no where to be seen. "They must've gone outside." Figuring they were sledding, I began to feed the baby.
A few minutes later, I received a text from Eric regarding another matter. In my response, I casually asked if he had the kids. He wrote back "no." Hmm.
So, I went to the door - no kids. That's not unusual as they sled a little beyond my line of vision, anyway. So, I opened the door. "Michael!" No answer. "MICHAEL!" Silence. "MICHAEL! CASSIA!" Nothing.
Today was one of those still and quiet winter days. No wind at the time. So, the air was silent. Eerily so, as no child voices were heard.
My heart begins to pound. I tell my little ones to stay as I put on my boots to go find the children. No coat. No gloves. Just panic.
As a mom, you think the worst, though you try to remain calm and logical. Four kids. No one would try to take all four. They're old enough to know to stay away from the pond, so that didn't worry me. But, they older they are, the more imaginative they are and the bigger the trouble they can get into. The bigger the trouble, the bigger the injuries.
We've all heard the stories of kids digging caves in the snow only for the cave to collapse and the children suffocate inside. Eric plowed a hill this morning. There were footprints near it. And...a shovel.
There I am, no coat, no gloves, shoveling away at the extremely heavy snow yelling my "babies'" names. I'm terrified I'm going to find them. Amazing how our mother-minds can run away with fear!
My hands were hurting and I was getting nowhere. I knew that I would not be able to do much without getting a coat. Something inside me also told me that it was illogical for the kids to even be in that mound - not big enough, not enough time for them to have dug so much.
I called Eric. Again, he's 45 minutes away. I'm hyperventilating. "I can't find the kids!" He tries to calm me down. I would calm only to begin panicking again. "I need to find my kids! Where are they?! Where are you?!"
My husband is absolutely amazing. He never panics! He probably would've slapped me if he had been here. He just kept telling me to calm down. They were ok. He told me to just wait - they would come back.
But, it was going to be dark soon. Where could they be? I got a coat and went back out.
"Michael! Cassia! Anna! Katrina!" The silence was almost more than I could bear.
"Lord, I need to find my kids! Help me! You know where they are. Bring them back. Be with them." I prayed this over and over.
I texted our friend who is living back in our woods if he had the kids. Maybe he took them sledding. No response.
I followed footprints. They went all over the place - as children do while they're running in the snow. "I need to find my babies!" I walked to the lane. The footprints seemed to end.
I'm trying to stay calm. Who do I call to come help? What do I do about the children inside?
Just then, the farm jeep comes around the corner of the barn. It's our friend...with the kids!!!!
My kids had walked the half - one whole mile back to the woods in the snow to see his place! His phone wasn't working, so he hadn't got my message. Once the kids told him that I had been napping when they left, he knew I was probably beside myself. He felt terrible. So did the kids.
I was so relieved that I didn't even punish them. Trust me, I talked to them and they realized why I was afraid for them. I told them the dangers of going away when no one knew where you were. I told them that I was reminded how much I love them.
Then, I said, "Remembering what I've just told you, I'm impressed that you guys walked all the way back there in this snow! What a walk!"
I learned a couple of things today:
1. No matter what my brain says, my heart will continue to panic whenever I don't know where my kids are.
2. It took the possibility of losing my children forever to make me realize how much I love them.
3. My kids can accomplish quite a lot when they put their minds to it!
I am grateful that the Lord heard my panicked cries and delivered my children to me safely. I hugged my children tighter tonight. I suggest you do the same.
By the way, don't tell my mother!