Rhema pulled a disappearing act – the third in as many days.
This afternoon we were playing in the backyard. When Rhema ran around to the back gate, I followed. However, instead of running after her (which is what I’m always doing, it seems), I stopped to grab Hope’s hand and we walked to the side of the house. (The backyard is large, wrapping around much the house, and enclosed with a tall wooden fence.) I knew that earlier Brandon had made sure the back gate was locked, so I wasn’t really worried. However, Hope and I found the gate door swinging wide open, and Rhema was gone.
I could already hear my heart pounding. I told Hope to “freeze” and sprinted into the neighbor’s yard. Our neighbors have an outdoor pool. Rhema does not know how to swim, and because she’s had tubes in her ears since she was 21 months old, is very inexperienced in pools. I scanned the entire pool, and thankfully Rhema was not in it.
I ran up and down the street, wondering if it was futile to even call her name. As I just blogged, she has gotten better at coming when called, but we have to be pretty close for her to respond. I doubt she would come if I were calling from far away, and she certainly would not call out to me. She was nowhere in sight.
Too much time had passed, and I was starting to lose it. Then I saw Brandon heading home (he was visiting a neighbor), and I told him Rhema was gone. He put Hope in the house, told her not to move, and we continued searching. My biggest fear was that Rhema would dart out into a busy street. She knows nothing of the danger of cars.
Brandon called the police, and the search continued. (I will say that I was mildly comforted by the fact that she had her ID bracelet on, in fact, duck-taped-so-she-can’t-rip-it-off.)
They found Rhema in someone’s house.
A woman (whom I’d never met) had come home from work and heard a noise in the house. She found Rhema happily playing with toys in the playroom. She said she was not sure how Rhema could have gotten into her house. She had seen a crazed woman running down the street (that would be yours truly) and put two and two together.
Pardon me now while I scream.
Did you hear it?
After Rhema was safe at home and I had regained some composure, we talked to the police about Project Lifesaver. Hope was a star throughout the whole thing, and she certainly gave us something to smile about. In all her 2 year-old glory, she spontaneously jumped up and gave the officer a grateful hug. When she wrapped her arms around his legs, her head kind of landed in his… ahem… special place.
I’m so thankful to God for protecting Rhema yet again. I am concerned = it seems like she has upped her game lately in terms of escaping and wandering off. Brandon is leaving for Iraq soon, and the task of keeping her safe seems daunting right now.
After the officer left, we walked over to the woman’s house where Rhema had been found and thanked her. She kindly offered for Rhema and Hope to “come and play in the playroom anytime.” We went to other neighbors that we did not know, introduced ourselves and told them about Rhema (– something we should have done long ago.) Now they will be on the lookout for her as well. Brandon is putting combo locks on the gates, and we’re going to get a MedicAlert membership.
We’re at DEFCON 1,
I think I’m ready for some spiked cotton candy.