Saturday, June 29, 2013

48 Hours...

48 hours is a long time to have no idea where your 2-year-old is.  Add to that the fact that your 2-year-old isn't legally yours, and the complete and total helplessness that you feel is paralyzing.  That fear was very real for me when Monkey went missing this past April.

The weekend of April 14th was a busy one.  I had spent the weekend on the lake at a Moms' Retreat with Cherub Mamma, MamaP, and several new foster mom friends.  We had a blast staying up late, catching up in person, and acting like teenagers in between the heavy conversations about parenting kids from hard places.  The first 48 hours of that long weekend were awesome!  It was the 48 hours that followed that sent me into a panic that I never want to experience again.

Hour 1 - Monkey's daddy drops him off every Sunday night at 8:37pm.  Seriously. 8:37.  My little guy doesn't get his meticulous, schedule-loving nature from any stranger.  When 9:00 came and went with no Monkey and no phone call, I tried to reach his dad.  Call went to voicemail, no response to text.  NOT what I wanted to come home to that weekend, that's for sure!

Hour 2 - Had a Mommy panic attack.  WHERE THE FREAKING HECK WAS MY KID?!?  I just hoped that they had both fallen asleep because at that point, there really wasn't much else I could do.   My phone had been out of service most of the weekend while I was on the lake, so I started to suspect I had just missed a message from him.  I went to bed and prayed they were okay.

Hour 12 - Still nothing.  At that point, I was doing my best not to freak out.  I was trying to think logically and rationalize what probably happened.  I had a feeling that he had tried to contact me that weekend when I had absolutely no phone service, so I was certain it was just a breakdown in communication.  I'd had Monkey all week the week before because his dad had taken on some extra shifts, so I thought it was totally possible that he decided to take a night off.  It was very strange that he didn't return any of my calls or texts after I got home though.

Hour 24 - 8:37pm again, and I sat waiting for Monkey.

Hour 25 - Still nothing.  I decided then and there that I was going to rip that man a new one when he finally did show up!  This wasn't like him at all, so I decided that he was either 1) out of town with no cell phone reception like I had been a few days before or 2) unable to communicate.  I knew right then that I would be forcing that man to give my phone number to every single person in his life and telling him to tell them to FREAKING CALL ME if anything ever happened to him!  While I was at it, I was going to make him give me every last phone number of every family member, friend, co-worker, dog groomer, whatever that he had too!

Hour 27 - Had another Mommy panic attack.  Got Monkey's Thomas the Train blanket off of his bed and cried myself to sleep breathing him in.

Hour 32 - Couldn't sleep.  All of the "worst case scenarios" kept playing out in my head.  The man's 50-years-old!  What if he's had a heart attack, and my baby is home alone?!?  What if they got in a wreck and Monkey's dad is comatose and no one knows to call me?!?  What if Monkey's birth mom came back, hurt his dad, and took Monkey?!?  What if Monkey's dad got back together with his mom and decided to leave the country and never come back?!?

Hour 35 - Decided to use every tool at my disposal to rule out the worst.  I was all over the internet.  I checked out obituaries.  I tried to stalk his relatives, to no avail.  I brainstormed on Facebook and asked for ideas.  Absolutely KICKED myself for misplacing his address!  Monkey's dad always brings him to me.  I had a general idea of where he lived, but not pinpointed enough to be of any help.

Hour 36 - Wondered if I should start calling hospitals and if there was any way to find out if someone had been transported by ambulance anywhere...

Hour 38 - Left messages with Nice Lady (my agency case manager) and the Invisible One (Monkey's former CPS caseworker) to see if they happened to have any contact information for extended family or if by chance Monkey was back in care for any reason and no one contacted me.

Hour 39 - Heard back from the Invisible One and Nice Lady.  Monkey was not back in care, and there were no open investigations.  I seriously doubted there were.  Monkey's dad is great.  I was more concerned that something had happened to his dad, and a hospital had to call CPS because they didn't know who else to call for Monkey.  No contact information though.  Ugh!!!  I just needed his freaking address so I could go over there and bang on the door!  (or at least have the apartment office do it for me)

Hour 40 - Got an email from a little "connection" of the law enforcement persuasion.  Things were starting to up!  Monkey's dad wasn't going to know what hit him when I finally did manage to track him down!

Hour 41 - My "contact" ROCKED!  (S)he was even able to track down vehicle information from my cryptic "girl" description of "I don't know.  It's a smaller, white sporty looking thing."  I got more information on that man than anyone could imagine possible!  I found out that there were no 9-1-1 calls related to his address, so that was good.  But the best news was, I HAD AN ADDRESS!

Hour 42 - My sister had just picked up Ka-Diva and Buddy from school and offered to make a "drive-by" to see what she could figure out.  She told the kids they were on a detective mission.  They were eating it up!  I swore that man had better be trapped under a heavy object, or he would be wishing he had been when I was done with him!

Hour 43 - Panic.  Christy found his apartment, and it wasn't looking good.  The blinds were all closed.  There was a "Do Not Disturb" sign.  There were several newspapers and a box of trash with Monkey's favorite lunches by his front door.  It was quiet.  Christy went to explain the situation to the apartment office and ask them to go into his apartment to look around.

Hour 44 - I couldn't stand it.  I left work early and went to his apartment myself.  Christy was relaying information while I was driving.  It looked like some of my worst fears had been ruled out, and it looked more like he was out of town.  His furniture was still there, and it didn't appear that he had left in a hurry.  At least he hadn't had a heart attack and my baby hadn't been alone for two days.  The apartment staff was fantastic and promised to keep an eye out for his car and to call me as soon as they saw anything.  I still didn't know why I couldn't reach him, but I kept thinking that he was probably in Mexico with no cell reception.

Hour 46 - Still worried, but at least I knew where Monkey wasn't.  He wasn't alone in the apartment with his daddy's body.  He wasn't back in CPS care.  He wasn't in any area hospital.  Wherever my little guy was, I knew he was with his daddy and was safe.  I just didn't know where he was!!!

Hour 48 - I FOUND OUT WHERE MY BABY WAS!!!  REPEAT!!!  I FOUND OUT WHERE MY BABY WAS!!!  Monkey's daddy's best friend had just called me and said that they were in Mexico.  Daddy's friend barely spoke English, so it was difficult to get exactly what was going on, but from what I understood, it seemed like I must have missed a message that they were leaving.  Monkey's dad thought I would be expecting him that night, but because they fly standby, they couldn't get a flight out.  He had his friend call me because he didn't want me to worry.  Um, yeah.  TOO LATE FOR THAT!

Hour 48 1/2 - Called everyone that I completely freaked out over the previous two days and let them know that everything was good.  (Also immediately saved Monkey's daddy's best friend's phone number in my phone. Lol.)

Fast forward to the next night.

8:37pm exactly - I opened the door, and Monkey was all smiles and launched himself into my arms for the biggest bear hug ever.  "Mommy!  I miss you!"  Monkey's daddy looked mortified and apologized over and over and over.  Apparently, he had planned on being back on Sunday, so he didn't tell me they were going at all. He didn't want me to worry that he had taken Monkey to Mexico.  He decided to extend their visit until Tuesday because they were having such a good time, but his phone doesn't work there so he didn't call.  I wasn't clear, but it almost sounded like he didn't even bring it with him.  When he couldn't get a flight out on Tuesday, he asked his best friend to call me.  (Wish he would have done that ON SUNDAY!)

I, of course, laid on the guilt BIG TIME.  I told him that I thought he was DEAD and had his apartment staff looking for his body!  You'd better believe he won't be doing anything remotely close to this again.  Two months later, and he practically tells me when he decides to use the restroom, so I think I got my point across.  :-)

It sounded like they had a great time though, and Monkey's dad was more relaxed and happier than I'd seen him in a long time, so the trip did him a world of good.  He said it was a spur of the moment trip over his mother's birthday to spend with her family and go to the cemetery (she's been gone for quite a while).  Monkey told me all about riding in an "airplane HIGH in the sky," eating tacos, and going to a soccer game.  I'm glad they had a good time, but I am also glad that Monkey's daddy was completely mortified that he had caused us so much worry and was appropriately guilty, embarrassed, shamed, and abundantly apologetic.  He won't be making the mistake of leaving the country with my baby and not telling me again, that's for sure!

9:30pm (73 Hours after Monkey went missing) - Fast asleep in his bed, where he should be!  He also refused to take off his "soccer player shirt," so he just slept in it.  :-)

Over the next couple of days, I think I learned more about Monkey's daddy than I had in the previous two years of knowing him.  His trip home did him a world of good.  I learned a lot about his family, his background, and got a better glimpse into why he tried so hard and was so dedicated to Monkey's birth mom through her drug and alcohol addiction.  He really is a cool guy (even though I wanted to hit him upside the head with a blunt object after scaring the living bejeezers out of me that week!).

So all's well that ends well, I suppose.  It ended up being what I suspected from the beginning, but when your child is missing all sorts of worst case scenarios run through your head.  48 hours is a long freaking time to have no idea where your child is!  I am just ever-so-thankful that I found out, and that I didn't have to go another night wondering if I'd ever see him again.  That little boy is my heart in human form.  Fortunately, his daddy knows that, and I am fairly certain we will never have another repeat of those 48 hours again.

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