The first thing my sister said when I was talking to her on the phone this afternoon was that she was, "MUCH better now that K is home safe."
It turns out that K did not get off her school bus. No one noticed her get on, including her brothers. The bus driver hadn't seen her and there were no kids left at school. Not knowing is so scary. The wheels went quickly into motion, the school and bus company were doing all the right things. The oldest brother calmed my sister while younger prayed.
And then it was over. K had been on the bus, slumped down and involved so deeply in her book that she missed her stop and hadn't noticed people looking for her. Innocent mistake with serious consequences.
I am processing this whole surreal event now. I can't quite do it and will not allow the worst to come to mind. But there is innocence lost. For K for sure, but for me too. I always am so optimistic. I have enough happy endings in my life to believe in the good of people and of the unseen hand making everything work out right. What if...? I can't go there.
I know this will effect the way I parent a bit. I have not focused much attention on those 'street smart' skills for my two, letting them just be kids. I have issues with some of those messages based on fear, but it is time that I make sure my kids know better how to help themselves and make the good choices. They deserve that confidence on their way to becoming independent.
That's for tomorrow. Tonight I am so thankful my niece is fine. Tonight I have a very clear perspective on what matters. They are so precious.