It was cold, dark and rainy yesterday so we were stuck inside all day long. After half-a-day of this, the minions start getting restless and that's when trouble sometimes ensues. The baby (two-year-old) was all dreaming up sugar plums up in her bed; one child was watching a movie; one was parked at the kitchen table (coloring, I assumed); and the other was upstairs doing something, I don't know, blowing her nose for like 20 minutes. Since I appeared to have a break, I settled into my favorite couch with Pinterest open, some cozy pillows and a fall blend of oils diffusing to my left. All was well, I tell you. Then? The child who had been upstairs came down and says to me... "Mom, sprinkles are everywhere." I said, "ok, clean them up." Three minutes later, "mom, I can't." Odd from my quick-to-help child who LOVES to vacuum and sweep. I went in to inspect.
The child who had been sitting quietly at the kitchen table somehow tossed? exploded? dropped? ...who knows... a bulk container of round sprinkles. My friends. In my almost eight-and-a-half years of mothering, I don't know if I have ever seen such a wide spread mess. Sprinkles filled every grout line, covered every tile, traveled to the next room and blanketed my yoga mat. Have mercy. To say there was a million of them was probably not much of an exaggeration. As we started vacuuming them up, the vacuum was spitting them back at me. I emptied the vacuum canister and, of course, spilled the contents of that back on the floor. Though annoyed, I remained pretty calm (I'm going to pin that on the oils I was diffusing...). About 45 minutes later, and one kid with peed-pants later, we got it mostly cleaned up though I don't doubt we will be finding sprinkles around for the next five years.
I sent the kids upstairs to get socks and appropriate clothes on for dinner out and, in that time, they decided to get rowdy. And then I heard, "wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." The baby, who was dreaming every so fondly of sugar plums, was now awake...like an hour too early. I banished a kid to the couch and sent the other off to do chores while we waited on dad to get home - all cited with excessive noise violations during rest-time hours. Sigh.
The rest of the evening was pretty status-quo. We had a couple of pre-bedtime meltdowns from kids who wanted ice cream and homemade cookies produced at 8:30pm. I wasn't about to get kids wired up again before I was home-free for the day. I sent the sprinkle-dropper upstairs to bed and I followed with her baby sister. After I had baby sister in bed, I went back downstairs to grab my computer and other things. I crawled into bed and settled in to Pinterest while waiting for everyone else to come up. When my husband came upstairs about 10 minutes later, I said..."have you seen #3 (sprinkle-dropper)?" He said, "No? Let me see where she is."
We couldn't find her. Anywhere.
After we'd searched every hiding place in the house, we still couldn't find her.
All of the worst things were going through my head now. We tore apart every bed. Threw open every drawer and closet door. Exploded every laundry pile. We yelled her name in every corner. Nothing. Not a sign. Not a trace. How could we lose a child in our house? We never heard any doors open, but could she have somehow gone outside? Surely she wouldn't go into the dark rainy abyss. I started feeling really sick and imagined someone taking off with her right from our home. What did the perp look like? What kind of car? What was she wearing? I wouldn't be able to explain any of it. I didn't know how we would explain this to the police, but I pictured the headlines and we have never been so close to calling them.
Absolutely frantic, I went back into our bedroom and threw the covers off of our bed (where I was just laying moments before).
This child. There she was, sleeping soundly - angelically even - fully covered in our blankets.
She went upstairs and thought it would be fun get under our covers and hide so we'd be surprised to find her when we got into bed. Before we had a chance to find her, she fell asleep fully covered in blankets and had sunk in to the memory foam mattress a little, which is why I didn't notice her RIGHT NEXT TO ME as I laid in bed. Even my husband looked through our room three times and under the bed. We moved her, as she slept soundly never realizing that we almost called in the troops for her return. We praised JESUS over and over and over and I consider it a lesson learned.
Sometimes our blessings come in ways unexpected, friends. Sometimes they are hard days and things that are there to teach us patience, mercy, forgiveness, etc. And, sometimes, they are right beside us and we get SO caught up in panic and mis-trust that we don't even notice them. I am STILL praising the Lord this morning that our child wasn't really missing. We are going to spend the morning doing some fun projects together and loving one another intentionally!
Blessings are all around you, friends, and some may be unexpected and closer than you think.