Last weekend, my husband was trying to finish putting up Christmas lights that never got completed the previous weekend because, you know, kids. So, anyway, while I'm hanging wreaths on the windows and keeping an eye on the kids playing in the driveway, he was out there muttering to himself in a grumpy manner about how I didn't get all the lights he needed and how he couldn't do it the way he wanted with what he had blah, blah, blah. So I'm like, "Well, sweetie...why don't you just go to Wal-Mart right now and get whatever it is that you need. I'll watch the kids. Enjoy yourself." and he's like, "Ok. I think I will!"
So, off he goes to Wal-Mart. It was getting dark so I brought the kids in and began to clean up from a weekend of not cleaning up and after about thirty minutes went to look for my phone to see if he had called since I always leave it on silent and wouldn't have heard it. Instantly, I remember that while outside I set my phone on the back of his car when I was hanging up the wreaths and I NEVER PICKED IT BACK UP!!! I'm now in a panic at the realization that I probably do not have a functional phone any longer and begin to feel sad for its likely shattered state on the side of the road somewhere. I run to double check that it's not in the garage. No luck. So, I grabbed my daughter's iPod and call my husband.
I don't know if the same is true for you but, at our nearest Wal-Mart if you are inside the store the phone service is almost non-existent. So after a frustrating exchange of broken and static-filled sentences followed by numerous texts he is able to understand what I'm telling him. While he left Wal-Mart to look, I left the house to run up the street and check the area near the stop sign thinking maybe it slipped off there. I tell my almost nine year old to lock the door behind me and that I am just running up the street to check. Her one job is to ensure that her little brothers do not leave the house in pursuit of me. As I'm leaving my front door, I tell my neighbors, who are in their front yard putting up lights, the situation as well.
I run up the stop sign (which I can see from my front door btw) and am frantically searching in the dark but to no avail. Then I think, "What if it fell off at the next stop sign?!". It is a bit further down the road and I would hate to not check only to find out later that it had been laying in the middle of the road waiting for me. So, I begin to literally sprint to the next stop sign. All the while trying to reassure myself that the kids are fine but secretly worrying that they are not and that I am the worst mother ever for leaving them in their safe warm house for 4 minutes.
I am sprinting in the dark to the next stop sign. I am not dressed for this. It is cold. It is also uphill. My dog shows up and keeps running into the road at oncoming cars. I make it to the stop sign and search. Nothing. I've now lost hope. It sucks. That phone was paid off and perfectly functional. I was not planning on getting a new one for awhile. I'm now sprinting back to the house while mentally running through all of the ways my children could have gotten into trouble while I was taking a frantic, late night sprint through the neighborhood. I've now made it back to my house. I'm a bit sweaty and just a tad out of breath. The neighbors are still putting up lights. They don't say anything and I think to myself, "Cool, everything worked out. The kids are fine." Then, I opened my front door and found the next door neighbor's daughter sitting on my couch surrounded by my three kids.
Apparently, mere moments after the start of my mad sprint to the next stop sign, the kids all exited the house in search of me. As they neared the end of the driveway (we live on a cul-de-sac with very little traffic btw.) my neighbor intervened and had her daughter escort them back into the house to care for them while I finished up my late night, impromptu exercise.
I WAS MORTIFIED. The moment the neighbor left I let into my daughter. "You had ONE job!" Of course she had her reasons for ignoring my directions and traipsing into the street with her brothers. But, it was over. It had happened. I'm a terrible mother. "We are not telling Dad about this." I informed them in a very quietly scary voice. They all slowly nodded in understanding recognizing that was the only appropriate response at this moment in time. Moments later, Daddy arrived home and instantly asked about the kids walking into the street solo. The neighbors were still out front when he arrived and totally sold me out.
He was surprisingly jovial about it and did not condemn my parenting skills. Additionally, he had found my phone and it was completely unscathed. He had the good sense to use Find My Friends to see what my phone was up to and saw it pinging on the side of the road. He left Wal-Mart and headed in that direction. So as he's off ACTUALLY rescuing my phone, I was sprinting uphill in the dark completely unaware that my late night cardio was futile. Well, as he is driving towards it, it begins to MOVE! He called it and a lady answered. She had found it in the street and almost run over it. (I have no idea how that even happens. It was dark guys. How do you see a phone laying in the middle of the road and actually stop to get it?! Cray.) She was nearby and he popped over to reclaim it for me. And it has absolutely NO damage. It's a freaking Christmas miracle.
So, at the time, this was definitely not fun and was quite stressful. But, looking back I can appreciate how ridiculous it all was and the fact that it has a happy ending makes it easy to reflect upon it with humor. I'm thankful for good neighbors and kind strangers who helped make the ending a good one and I will definitely think twice about placing my phone on the back of my husbands car or expecting my daughter to follow my directions in the future.