Last night, I was sitting down to dinner (which was YUM) and a frantic knock interrupted a forkful of curried rice noodles on its path to my mouth. My friends and I are big believers in, "Call before you come" so I knew it was either a stranger, or something important. I swung the door open and a small child creature looked up at me.
Now, I have two amazing nieces, and I've met all the neighborhood kids, including this one. This one, is a serious little thing with big eyes and pig tails so short, the shoot straight out, not down. She asked me if her older sister had come over here again, because her parents didn't know where she was.
To give you history, the pip's sister is a curious one. She's cheerful, upbeat, and lies through her teeth. She cries at the slightest perceived threat while "putting on a brave happy face". I suspect she also has sticky fingers. She's not allowed over here to see my nieces because I don't fucking trust her. She once came here to play with my older niece and this same above scenario played out. While she told me she'd been allowed to come over, she actually hadn't been and her sister came looking for her.
Now, it was repeating. I only had my older niece with me last night, so I walked outside with her and the pip. My neighbor, this little girl's dad, is frantically pacing the street. The dad the older child had told me was a dragon of a man. His wife was out driving around, he stayed for the police. The girl had been missing for over two and a half hours.
The niece wandered the neighborhood with other kids, like a pack of roving dogs, howling the girl's name to no avail. I stayed with the dad, and then collected my niece and another kid to keep searching. We took the search to the middle school and high school. A basketball game in progress had already been stopped to make an announcement about her whereabouts. The entire county, it seemed, had been called into force to find her.
My niece located the girl's best friend where we discovered that she'd decided to go to another girl's house after school. And now, we had a last name too.
Long story short, we called the dad. The dad collected her. The police was called off. I drove home and there she was on the side of the road with her dad, still on the phone calling off the search. He with tears, shoulders hunched and shaking. She, arms crossed, bottom lip protruding, tears of stubbornness, and glaring at her poor father.
Niece two called me to see if the girl had been found. She'd been worried too. When I said she had been, she answered, "I hope she gets grounded for that." My older niece, with me, said, "I'm going to shake her until her eyes pop out next time I see her. She is NEVER coming here to see me again."
To which I agreed. Because seriously? There need to be leash laws for some children. She wasn't even my kid, I freakin' barely know her, and I was in a state of consuming panic.
WTF is wrong with this generation?