AWOL

Mrs. Flying Deacon and I had a bit of a scare last night.  I went out to get a drink of water at about 11:30pm and noticed the front door was unlocked.  This is not an uncommon occurrence so I locked the door without thinking about it and headed back to the bedroom.  I poked my head into each kid’s room to check on them and noticed my son was missing.  Ah, he must be out on the front porch looking at his lizards.  I went back to the front door and quietly unlocked it and jumped out onto the front porch with my best “Ah-ha!” look.  But he wasn’t there.  I made a more careful search of the house but he wasn’t anywhere to be found.  By this time Mrs. Flying Deacon had gotten wind of the situation and was also looking.

Okay, time to go off the reservation and look around.  I got in my car and drove around the neighborhood checking his usual haunts but he was nowhere to be seen.  After I returned home we decided it was time to call the cops.  I called local police dispatch and explained the situation.  They had an office at my door within 15 minutes to their credit.  I explained to the officer that my son had apparently walked out the front door with no jacket and no shoes, wearing only a t-shirt and shorts and was now nowhere to be found.  She said she’d check the neighborhood and either return with him or call us and let us know what the next steps would be.  Ugh.  Sick feeling in the stomach.

She got back into her patrol car and went one direction while I went the other.  On a whim I turned toward the canal (which I had already checked).  I could see the patrol car in my rear view mirror.  Then much to my relief I saw my son across the street walking up the sidewalk apparently returning home from his night on the town.  I signaled the police cruiser behind me that I had located my wayward son.  I was relieved beyond belief to see him walking back so like any loving father I jumped out of the car, ran toward my son shouting “Hey!  You get over here right now young man!”

I first had him talk to the police officer who seemed somewhat in disbelief that he was just as we described him.  She couldn’t believe he left without his shoes.  So the first thing she said to him was, “Hey, are you alright?  Why did you leave without your shoes?”  I was thinking, Oh come on, handcuff him or something.  After she was satisfied that everything was okay I sent him to sit in the car while the officer and I concluded our business.  To my surprise she said, “Good job dad.  You found your son.  So many people just wouldn’t care.  They expect us to find them.  But you came out and looked for him and found him.”

I took him home and had a “brief discussion” with him on appropriate times to leave the house and what it means to be grounded.  Then we all went to bed but it still took Mrs. Flying Deacon and I some time to de-stress and sleep.  As upset as I was with him I had to admit to myself, I always will go out and look for him.  Always.

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