It has really been about half a year since I've actually just sat and typed my thoughts down on here. My perfectionist side tells me that I must have photos for everything and I must be caught up.
I have to just get over the damn perfectionist part of me. I have to realize I'll never be caught up on the photo part of my blog and to just blog when I get the photos ready and when I have the time.
Let's start with Tuesday.
Tuesday was a day that changed my life.
Tuesday I brought both boys home from school. Joey asked me to help him with a dvd he was having issues with. Come to find out he was trying to use the music cd part of the dvd package. I asked where Justin was. He wasn't sure. It's not unlike Justin to go up and quietly play in his room, or go outside and play in the sandbox or in the front yard. He also told me he was tired on the ride home.
I called his name. No response.
I called again. Nothing.
I walked around upstairs and yelled down to Joey to check outside. After searching the house fairly well I then went outside to help Joey search the yard.
At this point I just looked up and down the street and decided to go walk down to Kim's house since our boys play together on occasion. She answered the door. I said, "Kim, I can't find Justin. Have you seen him?" Her eyes got really big and she answered she had not but to check at Trisha's.
So I walked down the street back towards my house with Joey in tow, and saw Abby in her yard. She tried to make small talk and I cut to the chase and told her I didn't know where Justin was and did she see him. She immediately looked concerned and said she hadn't seen him and asked if I needed help. I told her not yet. I was going to check at Trisha's house and I wasn't panicked yet.
I pass my house and walk down to Trisha's. I knock on the door and wait patiently...or not so patiently. Her son answers and then I ask if his mom is home. Trisha answers the door and I ask her if she has seen Justin. She shakes her head no, and my eyes start to tear and I tell her I can't find him. She sees me falling apart and asks Joey if he wants to come in and play awhile. She assures me this has happened to her and they called 911 to find out the child fell asleep under a table. She says to let her go back and help search the house.
I'm feeling pretty confident I searched the house fairly well, but it is always good to have a second set of eyes so she comes back to my house and we search again. We search closets, under beds, and everywhere we could think. Justin is NOT in the house.
She asks if I have tried Desiree. We go over her house often so it is possible he went there. I called her and no answer. I told Trisha I'm going to walk down there. Desiree is about 8 houses down so I walk down there. By now there are a few people hanging out outside my house. Abby and her kids start to knock on the doors in the cul-de-sac across the street asking if people have seen Justin.
I get down to Desiree's and tell her I can't find Justin and ask her to check her backyard. She has a pool and I had visions of him face down floating. She runs to the back and I go around the side yard and she comes around and says he's not there. I told her I'm somewhat relieved. She walks back with me towards my house and an entire neighborhood full of neighbors searching for Justin.
At this time Tish is driving up and asked what he looked like. I gave her his description and she said she was going to drive around and look for him.
On the way back to my house we asked one more neighbor who hadn't seen him.
At this point I AM panicking.
I distinctly remember looking at Trisha and asking her if I should call 911. She gave me this great advice, 'Briana, you need to call. Not necessarily because your son is lost, but because he may be found.'
I get home and get my phone. I call 911. A few rings later and my palms somewhat sweaty the dispatcher answers. She requests my address and I tell her. She asked what the emergency is. I tell her that I can not find my 5 year old. She asks for a description and I tell her he is wearing a red shirt and red shorts with a blue stripe. She tells me to hold on. She comes back about 10 seconds later and tells me they found him.
At this point I start HYSTERICALLY crying. Trisha said up until then I was extremely calm. Once I knew he was ok I just started to SOB. I am not sure I have ever cried so hard in my life. The dispatcher asked me my name. I stopped, took a deep breath, and started crying uncontrollably. I remember thinking to myself that I was so upset I couldn't even say my NAME. I couldn't speak. I just handed the phone to Trisha who took down where Justin was and gave her the information.
I just put my head in my hands and leaned on my island in my kitchen and just sobbed. I remember Desiree putting her hand on my back and telling me, it was ok. They found Justin. He was safe. I cried for about a minute more and finally got it together...kinda.
Someone went outside and told everyone that they had found Justin. Tish told me she would drive me over to where he was and to get my purse.
She drove me there and there were three squad cars and a bunch of parents.
Evidently Justin thought it would be a great idea to leave the house, and walk - TEN BLOCKS AWAY - BAREFOOT. I clocked it the next day - he was found a full MILE away from our house running IN FRONT OF TRAFFIC on a BUSY STREET!!!
Three different mothers pulled over their vehicles and got him out of the road. I thank God for them every single day. I'm fortunate he didn't get hit by a car. I'm fortunate I'm not burying my child right now.
So I got a very stern talking to from the officer about him being unsupervised. She took my drivers license and told me the one officer would drive Justin and I back to our house - IN THE POLICE CAR.
Imagine how it looked when I drove up to my house, with the entire neighborhood in my driveway, in a police car. The officer came around and let me out, since they don't have handles in the police car. I can wipe that event off my life long bucket list. I've ridden in a police car at age 33. Justin at age 5 (gulp).
The female officer had to walk about 6 blocks back to her car.
What the story is - once the moms found Justin, they called 911. This resulted in three different squad cars responding to the situation.
Justin told everyone he just lived down the street. So the families, and the three squad cars and the police officers followed Justin down the street. The one officer told me it was like he had an entourage. And they walked, and walked. Finally they realized he really didn't live that close and he walked a LONG way.
So once the female officer finally got her car and drove to my house, she has to, by protocol, search my house.
At this point I was THANKFUL that I had picked it up and kept it picked up! She searched my house from bottom to top - even looked in my fridge, I assume to make sure I had food in it.
She told me after that there was nothing on me, nothing on our house and nothing on Justin (for events logged in her system). She told me I may want to invest in a door chime and left.
I remember sitting with Justin in a quiet room after everyone left and asking him why he did this.
Let me just say, before you think I'm a bad mother, that I have told both of my kids until I'm BLUE IN THE FACE - 1. Do NOT cross the street without me (Joey can now but Justin is not allowed too - he's too young). 2. Look both ways before crossing the street. 3. Always tell me where you are going 4. Justin is NOT allowed to leave our yard.
Up until now we've never had issues with any of these rules. Justin never leaves the yard. He always asks up to go places if he wants to. We always look both ways.
For some reason, it just didn't matter. He went off exploring on his own. The only explanation I got from him was he 'wanted exercise'. I think, also, that he wanted to go to his friend's house. The only issue with that was he didn't live the way Justin walked.
We've been extra careful with Justin now. I just can't trust him, which is sad. I almost feel like I've failed. Like I did something wrong to cause this. Perhaps he had the second child syndrome and is always getting overshadowed by his older brother. Maybe he is trying to prove he is a big boy. Maybe he just was bored. I'm not sure.
We grounded him from all electronics for a week. We never yelled at him but we did talk to him about what happened. At one point I just held him and told him that if he got hit by one of those cars we would probably be burying him in the ground. We would never see him again, he'd never see us again and I just started sobbing uncontrollably with him sitting in my lap. I think he got how upset and scared I was.
That night and the next day we drove home how important it is to always tell us where you are going. I told him even Joey tells me where he is going. I told Justin that even when both of them are 15, they will tell me where they are going.
We've been spending a LOT of extra time with him. Making sure he gets exercise. He rides his bike, he has one on one time with dad playing, he gets outside with mom, and he gets extra hugs and kisses.
Even with all of this, Thursday evening we were taking a walk. Joey was riding his scooter up ahead of Justin and Justin was riding his four wheeler. Justin was driving by a curve in the sidewalk where a big van was parked along the curb in the street.
Before my eyes, Justin just turns the wheel of his 4-wheeler and goes straight into the middle of the street.
I am screaming at this point, GET OUT OF THE ROAD. GET OUT OF THE ROAD. I was so angry I could have spit fire. I told him to immediately get off his 4-wheeler and go home NOW.
I had Joey drive the 4-wheeler back home and Joe carried Joey's scooter.
Justin told me he couldn't see Joey, and he drove into the road so he could see him better.
I had to explain to Justin we NEVER GO IN THE ROAD. I had to give him real life examples. If there is a cat in the sidewalk, can you go in the road? If there is a branch in the sidewalk, can you go in the road? The answer is always NO.
Justin is very intelligent. He says this to me, 'Mom, what if there are sprinklers going and I am riding my 4-wheeler. It is electric and if I drive through it it will break my 4-wheeler!'
Can you believe as a 5 year old he actually thought about that? I told him that he would need to stop, wait for mom and dad to catch up to him and then we would make sure the street was clear so we could help him drive around the sidewalk.
So that is our latest with Mr. Justin.
The moral of the story is, don't get lax with watching your child and assuming he knows the rules and he won't break them. Justin knew the rules. I have been pounding them in his head for years now. That particular day it just didn't matter. It sure was an eye opener for me!