I almost can't remember whats going on in my life that I haven't updated about, because it has been so crazy. On the school front Abbey is doing ok and I have cognitive testing results that I think will really help with studying in the future. I also have a plan to meet her teachers and principal at the beginning of the year, before school even starts, to set up and IEP/Adaptation plan, mostly written by me. Everyone wish me luck, its my first time!
Dance competition season is over and now we work on next year and refresh everything so that we are ready to dazzle everyone at recital. This is the first year that we perform both nights, and I'm a bit uneasy about staying in the audience instead of being backstage like I was for competition, as I have not a clue who will be responsible for the hair and make up changes. It had been a bit laid back at practices which resulted in the girls not trying quite so hard, which leads up to the traumatic incident, which I am still processing.
Last week, only 3 of our 5 girls were present. At the end of tap class, the instructor (who is also the director of the whole studio) had the 3 run through their routine, 2 of the 3, (my daughter included) were basically just being lazy and not performing as she knew they were capable- so she told them, and sat them down to try again later. They both pouted and cried a little (which is nothing new for Abbey.) After class was over they both walked out with a bit of attitude (again, nothing new.) Her team mate walked out the door in front of us, her mom was right behind me. I stopped Abbey to change shoes. She declared she was quitting and that Miss _______ is now mean. I told her to suck it up, change her shoes and we would discuss later. All of a sudden the mom behind me says, "where's J___", I had assumed she was walking to their car. We looked and saw her dance bag on the ground by their car. We looked around, back inside etc and she was no where to be seen. We start calling for her, checking cars, etc. Their home is walking distance so her mom took off in the car to find her, presumably on the street trying to walk home in her anger from not doing well in class. Nowhere. Then the whole studio seemed to stop- all the moms split off in different directions looking for this precocious 8 year old. After 20 minutes, we told her mom she had to call local police. My daughter started crying, her other teammate got upset. The police started to show up. I jumped in the other mom's car and with our daughters and started looking around the neighborhood. We asked everyone we saw on the street. It started to get dark, and cold. My own panic started to mount, as I'm a mom and I had to keep suppressing my own empathy. I knew if I put myself in J's moms place I would lose it and be of no help. I also had to keep Abbey calm because all of the feelings she had about class going badly melted away and she was scared for her friend and teammate. I honestly felt extremely guilty because I will just admit it, I have never been super fond of this child, for reasons that are not her fault or her parents. She is a twin, and has two older siblings, none of whom have any of the same difficult personality characteristics that she does. They are all gifted with intelligence, but this little girl is diagnosed with anxiety, and I believe something on the ADHD /ODD spectrum. She does take medications and goes to therapy. Her parents are teachers at the jr high and high school levels, and wonderful people. While she is difficult a lot of times, I know that she doesn't always mean to be. And on our dance competition travel weekend she was actually very pleasant, very polite and respectful with adults and nice to her teammates, and I know that her mom takes such joy and pride out of those moments when she can show her true self. However, since my patience often wears thin dealing with my own ADHD/emotional/difficult/stubborn child, I tend to avoid dealing with her, as I just down have enough of the right energy to spare. I do however really feel for her mom and we have had a few cathartic talks and breakdowns together.
After about 1.5 hours of looking for her Dennis offered to come get Abbey. I just couldn't give up and leave her mom in that state. The other dance mom did the same thing. Our plan was to send our kids home, confer with the officers and go back out searching. Dennis was on his way, and I was standing next to the other mom, talking to an officer. Her mom was sitting on the ground, texting and calling and trying to maintain her composure. Then we heard someone say, " get her mom we have her!" She dropped her phone and took off. When I headed in their direction ( this is all on the front lawn of our dance studio, which is a converted 2 family apt building) all I could see was J's mom, sitting on the lawn, rocking back and forth with this little girl folded into the fetal position, crying hysterically, unable to breathe or talk. I sat down next to her, and just put my hand on her leg and squeezed. I said, its ok now, its ok. She breathed, and started talking...giving directions, like only a teacher and mom could do. The other dance mom called her husband, who was out looking in his car, and her kids who were waiting at home. I walked towards the director who had just pulled in the driveway. She had been to every restaurant, store, gas station on the surrounding streets looking for J. We hugged and then I allowed a few tears of relief. Every mom started holding their kids tighter, comforting each other, allowing ourselves to let go of what we were suppressing for the other mom's sake. Eventually there were cheers and clapping. J, once emerged from her moms arms to her dads was completely out of it. Eyes closed, almost asleep but not quite. I assume it was an anxiety/defense mechanism. I was worried she was in shock, but they kept her warm and she was okay to go home. She had been hiding in a little thicket of bushes and trees behind a fence, just about 10 feet from where she threw her bag down, also where we had all looked about 3 separate times for her. She was wearing only her leotard, tights (now ripped to shreds) and flat dress shoes. One of the student teachers who is only 19 heard something, called her name, and she popped out. The 19 year old was visibly shaken and needed about 5 minutes to calm down before giving her statement. An officer told me that the search and rescue helicopter and dogs were en route just before she was found. Dennis pulled up to get Abbey and she happily left with him. I stayed to make sure everything and everyone was ok. When Abbey was safely out of the situation I came close to losing it. The 19 year old's mom who works there as well grabbed me into a hug, she knew I needed it and so did she. I made sure to hug J's mom as she kept apologizing to us and to the officers for all the trouble. I still tear up just remembering how she looked when she finally had her back in her arms. It has to be one of the most terrifying things I have ever witnessed. When I got to my car, alone, I let it go. I sobbed the whole 14 minutes home.
A few days later, I talked with Abbey about it, told her not to bring it up to other kids or to J, as we don't want to upset her or bring attention to it. Then she said, "mommy I would never do that, I promise." My answer was, " well I think I have taught you better and you know that's not right, and at least you have thought about it and aren't as impulsive." Then she made my day. "...but I could never leave you, I love you too much to run away." Next time she tells me I'm the worst mom ever (for taking away an iPad) I will remember that statement and will myself not to show her she hasn't seen anything yet!
So I am very thankful that J was safe and sound, not hurt and her family can move forward and learn from this. I had to write about this and process it further, as I am still so shaken up!
I cant even imagine how scare that was for both you and Abbey!
I am so glad that J is safe!
Sounds like a scary night! Glad she was found and everyone is okay!
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