This morning I received a phone call from my step-daughter’s mother. She wanted to know if Miss. D was sick as she wasn’t in school. My stomach bottomed out as I knew that their dad had not just dropped both of them off, but watched them walk into the school. I told her as much, and tried to stay calm, but I couldn’t manage it at all. I was in a full blown panic attack, I couldn’t breathe properly, I was thinking about what clothes she had been wearing, how would I contact my husband while he was cooking at the Bistro with his phone off, who I could get to watch the 3 kids at home so that they didn’t have to know their sister was missing. All the while Miss. D’s mother is trying to assure me that it was probably just a simple mistake, but calm was not within my reach.
Now I understand fully that for most people they would just assume it was a simple error, but I couldn’t, my mind thought of the worst case scenario. Normally (not always, but typically) I am not the type to full out panic, especially before the worst case scenario has been fully confirmed. But here’s the catch to today’s phone call, by the time I was Miss. D’s age I had lived through 2 attempted kidnappings in 2 different countries by 2 different people. The first one was a full blown stalker that my family had to protect me from for months, the obsessed person was a 6ft blond woman with a brown belt in Judo. Her obsessive stalking and attempts at kidnapping me played a big part in shaping how overly protective my mother and brother were (still are) of me. The second was a man of average height and build who worked at a campground we were visiting, I had simply wandered off further than I was supposed to from my mom.
Now I am beyond THRILLED to say that it was merely a clerical error; the teacher had indeed mistakenly checked off Miss. D’s name instead of the child that was absent. A simple mistake, checking off one line too low or too high on a list, so easy to do and in turn to understand another doing it. But for this step-mom, that clerical error certainly caused panic. Thankfully, it was an unneeded panic.