I'm so proud of family today. We all had the chance to completely lose our cool and each of us found the space and wisdom to do otherwise.
Here's how it played out...
I received a text from walkingstick this afternoon telling me that he just realized he left his computer at school...outside...in front of the school...in a laptop bag that looks like it holds a pricey little laptop. I texted back, "Seriously!!!Where is it?" Then dialed his number before he could reply. I felt my face flush with heat as he answered and took a deep breath before asking him what specifically had happened and where he thought he'd left it. Defensive whining and escalation began, but stopped abruptly with a calm reminder - not sure how that actually came out calm...more breathing.
I realized I was thirty minutes away, he was at least twenty if the sitter took him back, but my husband might be about five minutes away if he was in his office. Walkingstick was not thrilled with the idea of getting Dad involved, but knew the situation called for all hands on deck. I rang the school first to see if someone could go out and check, but the phones had already been turned over to voicemail. Walkingstick was envisioning the grim reaper coming.
I called my husband and interrupted a high level, relatively stressful meeting. Realizing this was about the worst timing ever, I decided I'd drop it and take the risk of heading over there myself. He insisted on me telling him what was going on since he'd already stepped out of the meeting. I told him and could practically hear the explosions going off in his head...the computer is only a month old.
He left the meeting, headed to the school, and called me as he arrived. No computer bag in front of the school. The front door was locked, but a staff member saw him and let him in. No computer turned in at the front desk. He headed over to the after school care building...No computer bag there. I was sure his eyes were nearly popping out of his face and steam was coming out of his ears. I worked to keep a calm voice and think of alternatives for where it could be...more breathing...long and slow...sending all that calm energy to him.
I called walkingstick to see what students and staff members were still outside as he was leaving. He told me he thinks he could have set it down in the parking lot when he opened the door to the sitter's car. Flames begin licking my ears. I breath more and call my husband back.
We decided he'd go to the classroom to see if a teacher picked it up. He'd call me back. I was certain I could feel the vibrations of his shoes pounding down the tile hallway from across the city. I was back on the phone with walkingstick working other possible angles and keeping his anxiety down when my husband rang through.
The computer was sitting beside walkingstick's desk...the whole time...he'd never even taken it outside!!! Dad was livid and I was saying...best possible scenario! Whew! He doesn't want to see or talk to walkingstick after all of that. Fortunately, he needs to return to his meeting which gives him some space.
I called walkingstick to tell him the news. He was relieved and grateful, but terrified of what his consequences would be and of seeing his dad. He was sobbing into the phone, apologizing, and ...
I arrived home to a somber house with heads hanging low and bloodshot eyes. I couldn't believe how calm I felt. I was so relieved we found it that I didn't really need to be upset. I talked with walkingstick about apologizing to his dad, showing gratitude for his help, and a plan to keep track of his computer a bit better.
Distraction, time, and space were a blessing for all of us when my husband came home and said he realized that walkingstick had already said to himself all the things Dad would say, so he was letting it go. No lecture, no tears, just lessons learned ~ by all of us.
...I wrote this post months ago, but never got around to publishing it. Reading through it I'm amazed at our collective self-control and ability to keep things in perspective. It was, afterall, a missing computer, not a missing child. Wisdom!