I woke up crying this morning from a dream that shook me to my soul. My heart was trembling and I felt so sick to my stomach. I was immediately relieved to realize it was only a dream but also saddened because I know for some families it has been a reality.
I’m not sure what caused me to have such a horrible dream but maybe some of it came from recent news stories about the children who were recently recovered in Georgia. I don’t really know why I would have such a horrible dream but it did make me realize that we all need to watch our children closely and keep them safe everywhere we go.
My dream started out that we were visiting family and there were lots of kids around. I had sent my kids to go have their quiet time and one of my daughters had asked if she could read a book during the quiet time which I agreed to. all of the adults sat around chit chatting and such while the kids were down for naps.
After quiet time everyone came down for snacks and then some of the kids went with one of the adults to a friend’s house for some games and swimming while some of the others went with another adult on a shopping trip. My daughters had both opted to go swimming and I had stayed home and kept an eye on the ones who stayed home.
Later in the evening, around dinner time, everyone started returning to the house and as they sat down to eat I realized I had a child missing. Noone had seen her since they’d left. The people who had gone swimming said she had changed her mind at the last minute and said she was gonna stay home to read her book. Panic started to set in, even now the panic grips my heart just retelling the story, as I knew I hadn’t seen her all afternoon.
We started calling her name and then began a room by room search of the house. After we searched the inside someone offered to search inside again and a couple of us split up outside. I went door to door at the neighboring houses but no one claimed to have seen her. There was one house playing extremely loud music and had a pickup truck running in the driveway. No one answered the door so I continued on my way.
On my way back through I met a couple of guys at the pickup who seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. One was putting something in the back row of seats while the other was throwing stuff into the front. I managed to stop them to ask them if they had seen my daughter. I showed them a picture and they commented on what a pretty girl she was and that they had not seen her.
The one guy went on to claim that they had just been staying with their friend and that he had been catching up on sleep as he had been driving the whole day. He suggested that maybe she had run away because we had yelled at her or had some kind of disagreement. I said, ‘No’, we were visiting with family and having a really good afternoon.
Then the other man chimed in and said that it was sad to see how many kids are neglected because of adults not paying attention. He went on and on to talk about how he had seen so many adults who were attached to their phones and not paying a bit of attention to their kids or their surroundings. It was not helping the fear I had as I had assured him that this had not been our case.
I left as they were getting into the vehicle and driving away. I noticed that they slowed down near the house we were staying at but I lost sight of them when I rounded the driveway. I went to the house praying that she had been found while I had been out. I knew that if she hadn’t been found by then we needed to call the police as something had definitely happened.
As I neared the house my phone rang and I could hear a lot of commotion in the background. There was a lot of crying and screaming and I couldn’t make it out. As I walked into the back door I saw a group of people crowded around something in the floor. As I got closer I saw that it was my daughter and the memory of this part of my dream stills shakes me. I won’t go into details other than to say that someone told me my youngest son saw her laying on the curb in front of the house. He managed to pull her out of harm’s way and yelled for help.
One of the adults had picked up her seemingly lifeless body and brought her inside where they laid her on a blanket in the floor. She wasn’t moving at all and I knelt down beside her. Another adult came in to say that the police and the rescue were on the way. I started doing some CPR even though her little body felt chilled but it didn’t seem to be working. Everyone tried to console me but I refused to give up. I prayed and prayed and she did begin to breathe. As she started to regain consciousness she became hysterical.
I took her in my arms and did my best to comfort her and assure her that everything was okay. Someone came in to let us know that the paramedics had arrived and I felt relieved. As I held her I wondered who could have done this and immediately I thought of the two men that I had seen who had been all too eager to tell me about where they had been and what they had been doing. It had seemed a little strange as everyone else had just simply said that they hadn’t seen her but that they would keep an eye out for her. I was trying hard to remember as much as I could while I held her in my arms and that’s when I woke up.
This didn’t happen but at the time it felt so real. The emotions I felt are still affecting me right now. There were some details that I did leave out but I’m sure you can imagine how it felt.
Sadly this is a reality for so many parents. They have a child go missing for whatever reason and they never see them again. On occasion, they are recovered but so much damage has been done that they are never the same again. Even worse is when they find out that their child has been killed. It’s such a sad thing to think that there are people around us who would do such horrible things to our children but we need to face up to that fact.
We need to make sure we are 100% attentive to our children and our surroundings wherever we go. We also need to make sure that we truly know the people we are around and the people are children are around. If something about a person or situation feels off or strange then we need to start trusting our gut instincts and check things out a little more thoroughly or completely remove ourselves from the situation.
We also need to make sure that our kiddos know the important safety lessons like not wandering off or talking to strangers. My kids always use a buddy system where each child holds hands with another everywhere we go. I will hold the hand of anyone who is left out and if I have another adult we will usually have an adult in the front of our group and another in the back as walk.
In this case, they also need to make sure they let an adult know where they are and let an adult know if the plans get changed around. I could see this happening especially as school lets out and routines are changing. Many parents are so busy juggling work and school schedules that it could be easy to think that a child is one place when they are actually somewhere else or plans can change at the spur of a moment.
I just wanted to share this with everyone because I want us all to be safe and I don’t want anyone to go through an experience like that. I am including a few links to articles below for the steps to take if a child goes missing and I am praying that none of us ever need to use this. It might be a good idea, if you are planning to travel or have a busy summer schedule, to go ahead and have a current picture of your child and your child’s information in your phone in case it is needed for an emergency.
There are a lot of good tips in these articles:
Below are some other useful apps and such that might help to ease your mind, especially when you have wanderers like some of my children are: