After a morning with just DG, it was time to collect MG from church camp. We left the house with DG bouncing as usual. She asked to ride her scooter and I pushed MG’s scooter along.
Between our house and school (the church is next door) there are only two roads to cross: one in front of our house (quiet close) and one opposite the school/church (busy main village road). The route is one both girls know very well after two years of going back and forth to school.
Most of the journey is on quiet residential roads. Both children are faster than me and there are lots of twists and turns on the route so they’ve been given the rule of stopping at every corner to wait.
Today, after crossing the first road with me, DG raced out of sight. I saw her come to the second corner and called out her name, but she carried on.
When I reached that corner I saw her far ahead, there was no way I could catch her. But I thought she’d wait at the ‘big’ corner, the one turning from residential to main road. It’s a journey we’ve done many times, and although children don’t follow all the rules, this is one they’d learnt not to break.
I walked on as fast as I could whilst pushing a scooter, and got to where I could see the corner of the main road.
I couldn’t see DG.
I sped faster until I was at that corner. I could now see clearly in the direction we came from and along the road to the church.
I couldn’t see DG.
I shouted her name. I shouted louder than I have ever shouted. I shouted louder still.
She didn’t appear.
I couldn’t see her in any direction, there was no-one else in sight, and she didn’t come when I called.
I shouted again.
I stood still. Did I walk past her? I don’t think so. I’d been looking out for her the whole way and if she’d hidden in a driveway I would have heard her giggle because when she does something cheeky she giggles so loudly she always gives herself away.
My only option was to go to the church to collect MG. There would be people there anyway in case she was back in the opposite direction.
But maybe, just maybe, she’d crossed that main road.
I was terrified. But there was no point in standing there so I raced towards the church.
The path twisted again.
And there she was. Sitting on her scooter, safely on the pavement, exactly opposite where we needed to cross.
Quite happily waiting for me.
I shouted at her: “I am so angry with you!”
Then I picked her up and squeezed her tight.
While I hyperventilated.
While I told her over and over how worried I was and how scared I’d been.
While I told her she must NEVER, never do that again.
While I asked her why she didn’t come when I called.
While I sobbed.
I’m still shaking from the experience almost two hours later. She’s safe, that’s the main thing. But my brain is buzzing.
With worry that I could have lost her.
With anger at myself that I couldn’t keep up with her, that I let her get too far ahead.