Our school had vacation this week, so A and I took time off from work and we took the kids to an indoor waterpark. It's our fourth consecutive year, so we get the big room, late checkout, and a courtesy box of goodies. E and L have been old enough for the past two years that we've let them play on their own with regular check-ins. It was all fine - A even caught E being kind to a little kid when she didn't know he was watching her - until the end. We did the normal thing of finding everyone and telling them that we were going to leave in the next thirty minutes. C was tired and wanted to curl up on my lap. L headed for the hot tub. And then we spent the next twenty minutes - increasing in franticness - looking for E.
It's not a huge facility and between the two of us, we searched each area at least a half dozen times in that twenty minutes. Finally, after he had climbed to the top of the slides and the fort, I said, "We need help." You guys. That's scary. I knew she hadn't drowned because those life guards are like caged panthers pacing back and forth constantly. I also knew that the most likely scenario was that we had missed her somehow, but with both of us looking for twenty minutes, I was - deep down - scared she had been taken. I KNOW that statistics are not in favor of kidnapping - it rarely happens - but where else could she be?
I reported her missing. The lifeguard took her description (I HAD TO DESCRIBE MY CHILD. BECAUSE SHE WAS MISSING) and sent people out to look for her. In the meantime, I eyed the doors and asked if he was going to stop people from leaving until she was found. He said, apologetically, that they only do that if they call a Code Pink and then management has to get involved and everyone searches. I had a moment - just a moment - of thinking, "Oh, I don't want to be any trouble" and then I thought, "What if she HAS been abducted and I hold back a search out of POLITENESS? How could I ever forgive myself?" The answer was: I couldn't. So I said, "Yes. That's exactly what I'm looking for. Please do that." And he did.
We found her within ten minutes. She was floating in the lazy river, happy as a clam. It was too bad, really, because then I squeezed her to death and smothered her with kisses. Seems a waste, doesn't it? It was over an hour before my adrenaline subsided and I still get nauseous when I think about parents who go through that for a much longer period of time and with a different outcome. I am proud of myself for advocating for a Code Pink even though it turned out to be unnecessary. I would make the same decision again.
The rest of our stay was much less dramatic. They had air quality issues on our second morning (a outdoor vent had been blocked with snow) and gave away buckets of free tokens in the arcade until it was fixed. Our children played games for hours (free!) and won more than 2000 tickets. They pooled their tickets and now we're the "proud" owners of an LED light that says "Peace."
E and L spent a lot of time with groups of other kids. It makes me happysad to see. C still wanted to hang out with us and E and L would return occasionally to ask us to watch them on the lily pads or ride a double tube down the slide with them, but they were much more interested in making friends.
Earlier this week, my FIL emailed to see if we wanted to send the girls to their house for a sleepover and you bet we did. I dropped them off yesterday so A and I could go out to dinner (hampered for a short period by a flat tire that A manfully changed in the cold and snow) and see Django Unchanged. This morning he ran a 5K and then we saw Lincoln and went out for sushi. I've only had sushi one other time, but this was a place recommended by a coworker. I loved it. I don't love the texture of raw fish, so I stuck to cooked stuff - shrimp and cucumber roll, a roll with crab salad and something crunchy - and a glass of sake.