This post is a few days later than I was planning on posting it, but here it is. On Friday night we were having a barbecue/movie party in our garage with my family. It was supposed to be outside and because of the weather we moved it into our garage. Everyone came over and we grilled shish-ka-bobs (anyone know how to spell that?) and had salads and we watched pictures of all of us while we ate. Well, as we were getting things ready we had a scary moment that made me think a little bit. Talmage fell and skinned his knees up and so my mom brought him in the house and we were bandaging him up and when we got done my mom asked "where's Avri?" So we all thought about who had seen her last and started looking. She had been in the garage and then suddenly she wasn't. It was one of those "I thought she was with YOU!" deals. We searched the house, nope. Went to the neighbor's swingset, nope. We looked all over the yard, nope. Then we started getting desperate. We knocked on the neighbor's door, nope. We looked down in the ravine, but didn't see her. My Dad jumped in the car and went looking for her. He came back a little while later...without her. I was totally in a state of panic at this point. I just knew she had been kidnapped and that the worst was happening. Everyone split up and looked anywhere they could think of. I got in my car and decided to head down to the park, the only other place I could think she might go. Kendall had the same idea a couple of minutes before me and had already started running. We met on his way back home...with Avri. She was about 4 blocks from home when he found her walking alone. She had thought that Grandma and Talmage went to the park without her, and so she would catch up with them and off she went. A 3 year old wandering down the street alone wearing her bib. I was of course BAWLING at this point. As soon as she saw me and I'd pulled her into the car and hugged her and not wanting to let her go I think she realized the seriousness of the situation. I don't think she'll be trying that one again too soon.
We had to go back and tell half of the neighborhood that we had found her. It renewed my realization of how many good people there are in the world. Anyone we had seen outside and asked if they had seen her was now looking for her. People we had never met before jumped in cars and walked around looking for her. It was by far the scariest thing that I have ever experienced. I've heard of this happening, and maybe some of you have exprienced it before. But the weight doesn't really hit you until you are in the moment and you are sure that you will never see your little girl again. I found myself reeling and completely unable to even decide if she should be punished or just held in my lap until she was 18. I'm so grateful that she was okay and that nothing happened to her. I count my blessings. I have so many! And the times that I want to sell her on eBay have become far fewer since then. I realize that it is all part of life. And even with her trying and difficult personality I love her more than I could have ever realized I would and probably more than I even understand. I consider myself so lucky to have three beautiful and healthy children who bless my life every minute they are alive, and a husband who makes everything possible. Family is what it is all about.
5 months ago