Caleb Says "What? Don't go outside without an adult? I'm sorry, I am having a hard time hearing you..."
So the evening we arrived, we noticed that the front door of the lake house and the door to the garage had swing handles instead of round door knobs.
Why is this a noteworthy discovery, you ask? Caleb can open a door with a swing handle in about .7 seconds. So we decided that we would have to keep the dead bolts locked on both of these doors AND keep the garage doors down just in case he got out that door. We passed the word around as people arrived to keep these doors locked, but we probably should have held an official "team meeting" with an issue of this magnitude.
Fast forward to the next morning. We were all settled in, and the kids had started to run back and forth across the house and into each other's rooms. So when we were in the kitchen/living area, we could not see the kids when they went into the hallways. I had just finished feeding Caleb his breakfast and had put him down, and he padded off down the hallway. I had a false sense of security because I was assuming that the doors were dead bolted and the garage door was down. A few minutes passed, and I went down the hallway to check on Caleb. And then I saw it....
The door out to the garage was standing wide open. I knew that this was a bad sign because no adult would have left the door standing open. So I assumed Caleb was exploring the garage. As I rounded the corner, my heart sank and I had a very sick feeling in my stomach. Someone had left the garage door open.
At this point, things are sort of a blur. I remember yelling to everyone that I thought Caleb had gotten outside. Everyone mobilized. People were searching the inside of the house, Josh stayed with the kids up at the house while everyone else began searching outside. If you remember from the previous post, this was in our backyard...
I would like to say I remained faithful during the entire search that we were going to find him and he was going to be fine. That I felt tremendous peace and an inner security that God was protecting him from harm. However, this was not the case. I was pretty much running through every horrible scenario in my head. I was panicked. I immediately ran towards the lake, and on my way down the hill, I saw Caleb's blanket and pacifier lying in a little pile on the ground. It was then solidified that he was outside somewhere. But where?
So normally, 8 minutes is not that long. But when that is how long your child is lost at a lake house, it seems like an eternity. Our friend Dave had been down at the lake fishing, so he felt like he would have heard Caleb if he had fallen in the water. But the lake water was so dark and murky, you literally could only see a few inches. I kept asking myself, "Do I even remember how to give CPR?"
Everyone was running around, yelling his name. I felt like I was, in a weird way, removed from the situation and watching everything in slow motion. I had a hundred thoughts during those 8 minutes. What it would be like to never know Caleb as a 4 year old, a 12 year old, a high school graduate.....what it would be like to tell our families that Caleb had drowned in a lake...what it would be like to have 2 children and then all of a sudden only have one. Really awful thoughts.
I ran to the house next door. No one was home. I circled around it, ran down to their lake front. Someone else went to the other neighbors house. I felt like I just kept running in circles and yelling his name. Praying, praying, praying.
Then I heard someone yell, "We found him." And after I had confirmed that he was in fact alive and unharmed, I lost it and broke down in hysterical tears for a few minutes.
So where was he? Well, he had gone out the garage, down the driveway, into the street, down a big hill, up another one, to a stop sign, turned right, and was running down the yellow stripe in the middle of the street. (Honestly, this speaks VOLUMES about his personality.) Aunt Amy had the divine thought to sprint down the street and see if Caleb had gone out for a jog. It seriously had not even crossed my mind to do that. Aunt Amy saved the day! She said as she rounded the corner, she saw a little blonde head bobbing up and down in the middle of the street. She called his name and she could hear him giggling as he continued to run as fast as he could away from her. No, he didn't run into her arms, relieved that he had been found. In fact, it turns out he didn't even know he was lost, confirmed by the fact that he was none too happy to be taken back inside the house.
Josh made a great point later that day. He said that the events of that morning with Caleb, the realization that he was lost, the desperate search...this gave us a tangible taste of God's desperate longing for those of His children that are lost. I once was lost but now I am found...
And to close out, just a few more of my favorite pictures from the week.
"Caleb Loves His Aunties" I mean, look at that face. You can't fake love like that.
"Seth Loves Buddy Bear" (This one is for you Grammi!)
"Couch Time with the Crowder's"