Monday Leeann and Titus and I went to the church for a little while so I could catch up on a little bit of work. They hung out in daddy's office (he wasn't in the office for most of the day) watching a video and playing with the toys in his office.
Well, we were just about to leave when Pastor Denny stopped in and invited the kiddos to look at his fish. After a few minutes I asked Leeann to go clean up the toys in Rob's office. She left and I spent the next 3 or 4 minutes trying to coax Titus away from Denny and his fish.
After I plucked Titus away from Denny's fish, we went to help Leeann clean up they toys. She wasn't there. The toys were still scattered all over the floor, but she was no where to be found. I thought maybe she was hiding so I looked around his office, then my office, then Lauri's office and back to Denny's office, then back to Rob's, then the copy room. All the while I'm calling out her name thinking that maybe she's playing hide-n-go-seek. After all, I knew there was little chance she would leave the office on her own accord. It's just not like her.
When she didn't answer, and she obviously wasn't in the office I started to panic. Lauri (our secretary), Denny and Fayton (a member of our church who does handy-man stuff) all quickly went out in search. The four of us each went to every part of the church yelling out her name, looking in things, behind things, under things. After maybe 5 minutes had passed I started to bawl. I began imagining the worst. If she left the office area (which is a big if, it's not like her to do that), she certainly under no circumstance would have went outside on her own accord. If she went outside, she wouldn't have stepped foot on the pavement because she's paranoid of getting a swat for going out in the street without holding someones hand.
At this point though, we'd all 4 done a sweep of the inside of the church and she wasn't there. Denny called 911 and 3 of the four of us headed outside. I've never cried so hard in my life. At this point I was screaming for her at the top of my lungs, running around the outside of the church like a mad woman. I was looking in cars, under cars, in crawl spaces under the building, in the construction area (though it was fenced off, all the workers had gone home for the day). I looked in the dumpster, Lauri went up into the woods behind our church. I questioned the Qwest guy who was installing something at a house across the street to see if he'd seen anyone. I called Rob back and told him she was gone (I had called him about 5 minutes into it to see if he had seen her follow him when he'd left). He said he'd call the police, though I told him Denny already did.
At this point it had been 25 or 30 minutes. I gave up. I didn't know where else to look. She was gone. I was bawling. I was imaging every terrible scenario. I was cursing my decision to bring the kids to the church that day. I was beating myself up for taking my eyes off of her. I was wondering why I'd been so trusting that the church was a safe place (even though it was in the office area, which really is as safe a place as any!). After so much time had passed I was sure she was going to be on the evening news. I was recalling in my mind that she was wearing a black shirt with a frog on it that says "I didn't ask to be a princess." She was wearing jeans and her little white and pink shoes. She had a pony tail in her hair...
I walked back into the church not knowing what else to do and I heard Denny call out, "We found her!" Those were the happiest words I ever heard! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or scream. I cried. I bawled even worse than I had bawled before. I held her tighter than I'd ever held her before! I asked her what happened.
"I was playing hide-n-go-seek mommy but then you started yelling really loud and I didn't want you to be so loud." she said as she showed me how she was covering her ears. She's always been sensitive to loud noises, so I think all of us yelling for her was just too much. She was hiding under Rob's desk behind his chair. I still don't know how I missed her being that each of us looked in his office several times. I even looked in some of the cupboards I thought she would fit in. Anyway, I held her and cried with her, and held her some more. My legs were shaking and I could barely catch my breath! I did manage, however to describe to her the rules of hide-n-go-seek. Namely, it's only a game if the other person knows you are playing, and when mommy yells for you, you answer right away!
Needless to say Leeann has apologized on her own accord several times since then. Even yesterday morning she looked up at me as I was getting ready in the bathroom and said, "Mommy, I really am so sorry I scared you so much at the church the other day!" Then she piped in, "Please say you forgive me mommy!" I told her I forgive her, but that is a day I'm not going to forget any time soon!