Last week, while I was on the phone with Emily, all the kids were outside playing. Birdy, who jumps at any opportunity to be outside, was standing at my hip crying because she was inside and everyone else was out. When her screaming to go out became too much to talk over, I hung up with Emily long enough to put Birdy in her boots and sent her outside–calling to her sisters to keep any eye on her.
Emily and I continued to talk and I watched as some of the girls wandered back into the house. Finally, much later, Emma came in. Alone.
Where's Birdy? I asked.
She's inside with the girls.
No, she's not. You were watching her outside.
No one told me I was watching her.
And then, there's that parenting moment where you get the immediate pit in your stomach. Deep, deep down you're pretty sure everything is just fine. But in a flash, you've systematically worked through every possible horrible scenario that could happen to your unattended toddler. And what steps you'll take to deal with the emergency. As well as the fact that you haven't showered and if you're going to need to now make a trip to the emergency room, you're looking pretty scruffy and maybe you'll be able to at least wash your hair in the kitchen sink before you go.
Please. Tell me I'm not the only one who manages all these thoughts in course of 12 seconds?
But of course, we found her.
And of course where else would she be but playing in the muddiest corner or our property, where the driveway meets the grass. Where the water gathers after every rain. And mixes with mud and stone and mulch and soil.
And of course, she was wearing one of my favorite sweaters. And her best pair of jeans.
But who was watching her? Her very best pal.