The last few days have been HOT and we don't have central air. We have wall units in our living areas that keep it very comfortable and a window unit in our bedroom, but the boys and girls' room get very hot. Last night I told them to just sleep out in the family room. There were several fights between the boys and Rachel, so they all got sent back to their rooms. (The boys hadn't complained about being too hot ... just the girls had). We brought Rachel back out to lay on the couch with us while we watched TV. She was crying and wanted Nanny (we're wondering what you did to spoil her on Sunday night, LOL). Rachel finally ended up asleep on the living room couch.
At 3 o'clock I got up to feed Alex. Sarah was whining out in the family room, so I took her water cup to her. As I was headed back to bed I noticed the front door was ajar ... open almost all the way. I came out to the living room and the couch was empty. No Rachel. Open front door. I began to panic. I woke Aaron up, telling him, "The front door is open, and Rachel is gone." It took him a few minutes to wake up enough to understand what I was saying, but then he was up with adrenaline pumping.
We went outside and quickly glanced around. Then, Aaron disappeared back inside. I started searching the cars and walking around the house yelling Rachel's name. The whole time my heart was pumping in my chest and I was in panic mode. It was one of my worst nightmares as a parent. I was sure someone had taken my little girl.
After what seemed like forever, but had probably only been a few minutes, I heard Aaron calling my name from the front porch. He had found her! She had went back to her bed at some point. I was so relieved and checked on all the kids several times before heading back to bed. And, of course, I locked the front door and double checked it. It took Aaron and I several hours to finally calm down enough to go back to sleep.
This morning Rachel said she was scared so she went back to her own bed. She had heard footsteps (which could have been me getting up to check on Alex - twice - or Aaron checking on Sarah who was crying - or Caleb going to the bathroom). She said the door was closed at that point.
We still can't figure out how the door was open. I do know that Aaron locked the door when he got home from church, but Josiah unlocked it to go back out to get his DS charger. Aaron must not have seen Joe unlock it and assumed it was locked. I usually check the locks, but last night I was having trouble getting Alex to fall asleep so by the time I got him to sleep, after 11, I just went to bed. The wind must have been coming from the east last night and blew it open?? That's all we can figure.
Anyway, I'm very thankful to God that my little girl is here and safe this morning. I don't even want to think about what this morning would be like if this nightmare had been a reality. I know that there are no guarantees in life ... that at any moment our world could be turned upside down. It happens all the time to people who certainly weren't expecting it. I am going to try to hug my kids a little tighter today and be thankful for the gift each and every one of them is.