Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dude - where's my kid?!

Sometime last week, I was doing the usual. Running errands with E. G. was on a field trip with her class and K. and J. were in school. Normally, on piano days, I pick up G. and JT (E. is already with me), we eat a snack and then G. goes to piano near the school. While she is at her lesson, we drive to pick up K. from her bus drop off point. She eats a snack and then it's usually time for G. to come out and K. to go in.

This day I get to the school a few minutes behind the norm, but still before the kids usually get out. I don't have to pick up G. until almost 6 from the local bahnhof (train station), so I'm looking for JT. I park the car and wait. 10 minutes pass and no JT. In another 5, the buses will leave, so I run up to our bus and ask the bus driver (who speaks very little English - have I mentioned how much German I don't know?) if she has seen JT. She shakes her head. At this point, I'm not too worried, maybe he stopped to talk to a friend along the way, so I make my way down the long line of buses.

No JT. And no piano teacher. I look at my watch and start to panic - just a little. I call the after school program, SAS, but they haven't seen him. I call the school's front office, but no answer. It's almost time to pick up K. I call a friend and ask her to keep an eye out at home and to call if he shows up. I get in the car and start driving towards the drop off for K., totally forgetting that there is construction that makes what is usually a 5 minute drive, 10.

I call K. to explain the situation and find out her ETA. She agrees to meet me en route. She calls the piano teacher and lets him know we are on our way. I have her call a friend to verify the time for G.'s pick up. The friend says she thinks it's 10 till 6, but she'll check to make sure. Murphy must be my best friend...pick up time is 10 till 4! That was in 10 minutes!

Still no JT. My friend at home calls to tell me that he didn't show up. I'm driving like a mad woman to the bahnhof, knowing that I'm going to be late. It's almost 15 after 4 by the time I find a parking spot. Whew! I am not the only bad parent today - there were still 6-7 kids waiting with the teachers. I apologized profusely while running back to the car.

My phone rings. It's SAS. They found JT! We make it back to the piano place and walk in. It's actually the teen center. He is sitting on the plump couch, laughing with some boys, watching cartoons. He is not only safe, but having a great time!

For the tiniest part of one second I wanted to scream! The whole time I am running around, totally panicked (did I mention that security on the installation was beefed up? Armed soldiers, in combat gear, patrolling?!) imagining the worst...he was fine.

When he noticed me standing there, he said, "Hi, Mom! Do I have to go now?!"

(After calming down and talking to the staff at the teen center, apparently JT showed up, literally on the doorstep. One of the staff asked what he was doing. He told her that "every Thursday was piano day and I meet my mom and sisters here." Someone recognized him and let him cell phone wasn't listed in the main system (I only wrote it down on every form I filled out for SAS, the teen center and piano lessons...)

I'm thinking about buying those GPS shoes for kids...