I was able to wake up with Oliver before the boys- when I was done nursing Oliver, I cut Marshall's hair before he left for work, and Ezra and Eli also wanted haircuts.
I took advantage of every moment I could today to get things done. I had to bribe the boys through their haircuts to save their sucker for when I took a shower, so I could get a shower in peace. After my shower, we played pretend story time (like at the library) I was the librarian and they were (pretend) kids.
I read as many stories as I could until Oliver woke up again. We all snuggled on Oliver as much as whenever he was ready.
Afterwards, I tackled my chores. I was able to do all of today and tomorrows chores, so I could take it easy tomorrow. Linens were washed, bathroom was cleaned and floors were mopped. And, all the laundry that needed to be folded, was folded and put away.
When lunch time rolled around, I set the boys up on the deck with lunch. It was a beautiful day to be outside. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, even the squirrels were bouncing around in the backyard.
I had to stay inside with Oliver, but had the screen door pulled so I could still hear the boys outside. While I ate my lunch, I noticed that a few seconds went by where their voices seemed distant...... and then I heard it.
I heard a horn honk...and cars braking and another honk. In that split second, I knew my kids were out of our fence-in yard. I could sense it. I ran to the front window, with Oliver still attached to me (I was nursing him) I saw Eli's little body running toward the street.
I hardly remember what happened next, I moved as fast as I could to get to Eli, but from what I can tell you now, I ripped Oliver off of me and placed him on the floor of my small entry way and ran out of my front door (Can't even remember if I covered myself in time!) I didn't even have shoes on. But when I ran down my driveway and toward the street, Eli was gone! I looked left and right all while screaming his name. I looked behind me and with a million prayers racing through my mind, I ran up the path on the side of the house and saw Eli's little head bouncing back toward the fenced in back yard. Once I was able to reach his little shoulders, my panic was not over.
Ezra was missing. I scanned the backyard, screaming for Ezra....
I scanned once more and then ran inside the house frantic with Eli to check on Oliver and hoped that Ezra may have made his way back inside. Ezra was standing over Oliver when I found him. I grabbed Ezra by the chin and demanded that he tell me how Eli got out of the yard, but I already knew.
This has happened before, but when it had, we were in the backyard and were able to prevent them from escaping. This time, I wasn't back there, leaving the door open to listen to their shuffling feet and little voices wasn't enough. It only took a second and they were both gone. When I did get a chance to sit and look at Eli, he stared back at me expressionless but his heart was pounding.
I called Marshall crying hysterically to tell him what had just happened when I felt like I should have been calling 911 because this was TERRIBLE! And frankly, this was traumatizing and my worst nightmare!
The image that keeps playing through my mind was watching Eli moving as fast as he could to the street. The orange soles of his "Fast shoes" as the moved farther and farther from safety and closer to danger, his little hooded sweatshirt that I put on him just minutes before that he had asked me to "zip up" and his perfect little head of hair that I had cut to match his daddy and his brother this morning. I have been pulling him close and kissing him every chance he will let me.
When I ask him what happened, he says, "I's running" "Cars honk honk" or "Cars beep beep" "I scared you" (which means he was scared-- but heaven knows this scared me, and he did scare me.)
Through my crying all day, I've been repeating many prayers of gratitude for my little Eli being protected this afternoon. I am grateful for whoever honked, that I was alerted to the fact that something wasn't right, I am grateful that the driver's eyes were on the road and not on their phones, or on their radios, I am grateful that this happened in the afternoon when the traffic on our street isn't as bad, I am grateful this lesson was taught, that the Lord was able to yell at me that I need to slow down. That maybe I am trying to do too much at once. That it only takes a second to lose everything.
In the little moments where I was able to pull myself together, I explained to Ezra why we shouldn't open the gate and what can happen when we do, he understood. He was sorry. He hugged Eli until he tried to get away, and I watched him do this more than once. He over heard me retell the story of what happened and he hung on to every word and when Marshall came home, he said, "I realized I made a wrong choice," and my heart was full. He was so repentant and he has said over and over how he is happy that Eli is okay. It's hard on a four year old's heart to experience something like this and I am so sad that he had to learn from his mistake this way. But I do believe he will never want to open that gate again.
This wasn't exactly how I wanted to start my week out, but I think it is fair to say that the rest of the week probably won't seem so bad.