This story starts with Aaron. I have been having a problem lately with my 7 yr. old, Aaron. He goes outside to play, and when I go to check on him, he's disappeared. One day he had decided to ride his scooter around the block. Another day he had headed up the street to see a friend, and was playing in his yard. We live on a somewhat-quiet street, but there are times when people think it's a drag strip from the main thoroughfare two blocks to the left, to the main thoroughfare one block to the right. You have to be careful.
Last night I told him we were going to go out to eat, as soon as the TV show Rachael was watching was finished. He said he was going to go outside and wait on the front porch. No problem. Except when we emerged 15 minutes later, he was nowhere to be found. I called, and called, and called. No answer. FINALLY, after 10 minutes of imagining him kidnapped by child molesters, he was located less than a block away, riding scooters with some neighbor kids. I was so upset. Livid, actually. He and I had had a LONG talk just the night before about this problem (him wandering off without telling anyone) and what the consequences would be. So I spanked his butt about 3 times, and told him he was grounded all day Saturday (today). He has to stay in the house and go nowhere all day. He cried and cried, but I think he finally saw how serious I am about this. It will be interesting to see how much of a punishment this is for him (or for me, enforcing it!)
So we went ahead to get some dinner (not fair to punish Rachael, too) and as we were sitting in Penn Station, I was just so overwhelmed with it all. The long day at school. The whole lousy year. Missing Mike. (oh, I so wanted to call him last night, to spill it all out. But I didn't) Or maybe just missing having someone to love. The bills. The messy house. The kids. The stress of not being able to find Aaron, of being afraid of something terrible happening. EVERYTHING. I was suddenly so very tired, and I couldn't even eat my food. I blinked back my tears, and we left after they finished eating.
On the way home we had to stop for gas. (Another reason to cry) As I was standing outside the car, the tears came spilling out. I just stood there, filling up the car, and crying. I turned away from all the other customers, and had myself a little cry. Have you ever been to the point that you don't care if others can tell how you feel or not? I wasn't worried someone would see me, or what they would think. I just felt sad and needed to cry. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dad and his teenage daughter having a "who can clean the window best with no streaks" contest while they were pumping their gas. It made me smile, and the tears dried up.
I went to pay, and as I walked back I caught the eye of the dad. He looked at me with a very concerned expression. I looked away and got in my car. As he pulled away he drove passed my car and looked in, still concerned. I guess maybe he saw me crying, or saw my red eyes. I don't know. But he drove away, and so did we.
And I thought, what if he was someone I was supposed to meet? He looked so kind and friendly. And he was gone, and so was I.
And that made me sad, too, but in a way, hopeful.