The irony is, I was interviewing potential candidates for the job of keeping my kids safe when I'm not around.
I brushed him off a few times, promising I'd get him the requested snack when I was done chatting with the young lady.
Then she was gone. And he was gone.
Not in the front yard.
Not anywhere I could see in our wooded acre-sized lot.
I yelled and yelled and yelled and heard nothing but silence and the goddamn freeway.
He's exited the building unnoticed before, but always appears after a brief, terrible moment.
This time the minutes ticked by as my insides turned to ice. Running to the back of the property and forth again, yelling, yelling. I couldn't even pretend to reassure her that her brother was ok.
Finally I had to give up on my voice and my legs.
We got in the car and I had to force myself to take the time to buckle her harness.
At the end of the driveway...right or left? Where would his five-year-old compass take him?
I chose right. Drove down and around, to the point where I know he's emerged from the woods on chaperoned adventures.
A flash of red nylon and the most precious white t-shirt I've ever seen. There, by the freeway wall, completely calm until I grabbed him and cried.
He's fine, but I wish I didn't know the terrible feeling of the possibility of losing him.