Saturday, July 23, 2016
Safety First with Hope
Don't get me wrong. I do have a job. My job is to be here, there and everywhere that Hope is. I may not be physically present, in her face, here. But I am always a drive away, a room away or an earshot away.
I wanted to be the person who could escape from reality by watching tv, reading a book, tending the yard, getting lost in the kitchen cooking, sewing up a storm making beautiful clothes. But what I found was, when I am not totally present in Hope's life.... things will happen. Things do happen. And I feel bad, sad and mad. Things happen!
We have locks on all of our doors. Outside doors, inside doors, bedroom doors, bathroom doors, refrigerator doors, cabinet doors, closet doors..And LOCKS ON LOCKS! We have chimes on doors, and windows. We have safety features on stoves, microwaves and laundry equipment. You can't get out of the garage without knowing a code. We are freakish about safety.
Then, I slip up and everyone else becomes freakish about me!
I have a full time job, and sometimes I slip up!
One summer, our neighbors were having a garage sale. Hope shopped and spent way too much money on crap...but I let her. I figured that she was all finished and over the fact that there were treasures next door. When we returned home, I forgot to apply the elevated deadbolt lock on the front door.
I returned to my computer, that is next to her room and listened to her play with her new treasures. I didn't immediately notice the silence but when I did, I saw that the front door was wide open. I headed to the neighbors to find her shopping....She was not there and never was!
I searched the inside of my home then I got in my car and started to drive around the neighborhood.
I called the police, I posted on Facebook, I walked the neighborhood. It was announced on our towns ALERT. Someone remained inside our home in case she would come back.
We have a lake in our neighborhood. She doesn't swim.
We have two busy roads that outline our subdivision. She doesn't look both ways before crossing.
The next hour of my life stopped my heart. I beat myself up about the lock every time I found a new person to help look for her. I knew exactly what she was wearing, how her glasses looked, she probably had the baby doll with her that she just purchased at the garage sale.
After searching the neighborhood behind my house, I came to the front yard where my car was parked. My daughter, Bissy, was leaning up on it, talking to Hope. She thought that I knew that Hope was in the car. She was not in it when I drove around. To this day, we do not know where she went. At the time, she pointed to a neighbors yard and said they had toys...she may have gone there but I didn't see her when I looked.
Safety....a big worry with all families that have special needs kids or parents with alzheimers.
I've researched security devices that could be attached to her, put in a doll, and have found non-permanent tatoos. The technology is getting better and better to help us with our wandering kids. I wish we could put a chip in her, like the vet does for a dog. But I guess that is inhumane.
I have slipped up many times since this. When you are in public, you don't have the benefit of locking doors. As the parent you are also at the judgement of bystanders in how you react to a child who has wandered!
I bet you can't wait to hear about the time we couldn't find her at the cabin ,in the forest on a weekend!!