I answered my phone at 3:22 today:
“DANIELLE, DO YOU HAVE DELANEY?”
“No… why would I have Delaney?”
“Well, we can’t find her….”
And it was somewhere between my heart jerking to a stop and an overwhelming need to vomit that I heard the rest of the words from Delaney’s school.
Dismissal was hectic. It was pouring rain. Is there any chance she would go home with someone else? They won’t release anyone from the parking lot until they find her. They promise. They will call me back.
As if I was trapped in a movie version of my life, I hung up the phone and the tornado sirens started.
A month ago, I might have been able to stomach it.
But that was before a tornado took out our airport. And before Tuscaloosa. And, DEAR GOD, before Joplin.
So then, I sat. On a futon mattress in the basement. My small dude holding me, “Mommy, are you ok? Are you worried about Sissy? Don’t cy, Mommy, she will be home soon.” This? From my 4 year old. Who doesn’t know Delaney is missing. He simply thinks I’m worried about hearing the tornado sirens and stressed that she isn’t under my roof.
And he’s right. Or he would be.
If I wasn’t being consumed by the thought of her lost and scared. And wanting me. And the epic failure that is me NOT being with her at this minute.
I’m on a futon, in my stupid basement. My heart echoing the very same sirens she is hearing only miles away. And I can’t get to her.
It was only 10 minutes. (though the longest 10 minutes of my life) And they found her.
The best part? She didn’t even know she was lost. So my fear-monger version of her hiding in a bathroom stall, covering her ears and whispering my name? It wasn’t happening.
But in my heart? It was.
It was an easy mix-up – complicated by the threat of impending tornadoes. Without the storms, it wouldn’t have happened. And without the complications of the tornado sirens, a call that she was missing would only have given me a small seizure – instead of the near massive cardiac arrest and subsequent fetal position rocking that was salved only by a blond-headed monster, determined to stop his mommy’s tears.
The whole time, I was beating myself up for letting him see my cry – what kind of mom isn’t able to make her child feel BETTER while tornado sirens are blaring. *raises hand* That would be me.
But DAMN if he didn’t keep my feet on the ground. This itty-bitty small dude comforted me. And the second the sirens stopped, he was glued to the window, waiting for his big sister to come home. And when she did – it was a reunion of epic proportions, not one fitting a mere 7 hours of sibling separation. He offered hugs, snacks and lots and lots of chatter.
As for me? I haven’t stopped staring at her freckeled face or hugging her little body. She is carrying my heart around with her wherever she goes – and she doesn’t yet know it.
Dear Mother Nature, I blame you. So, if you could kindly knock-it-the-hell-off? That would be super.