Wednesday nights are special around here. The kids attend Wednesday night services, which is a lot of fun for them. They play games, do Bible study, and eat a lot of junk. Bucket was resistant to attend for quite a while, but it has become part of his routine and he has made friends there.
Blessedly, we live walking distance to our church, and I allow the kids to walk as long as they're in a group and they have a cell phone. Last night, Missy informed me that it was time to go. Her friends Stephanie and Jennifer were walking with her, plus Tiger and his friend Zack, and Bucket. That was when we noticed that Bucket was missing. Unfortunately, this is not the first time he has vanished on us. We don't call him "Stealth" for nothing. He is small, quiet and moves around very delicately. I've lost him in stores, libraries, schools, field trips and amusement parks. I've joked (rather seriously) that he needed to be born with GPS installed. Missy and I quickly came up with a plan. She was to continue to walk to church with her friends and see if she found him on the walk. I was to grab my cell and hop in the car, and drive up to church to see if he had made it up there already.
Sure enough, I got to him first. He was already in the parking lot. I sternly waved him over to me.
"Hey! You're not supposed to leave the house without telling someone!"
"Mom, I did. Missy was with Stephanie and Jennifer, Tiger was with Zack, and you were talking on the phone."
~guilt trip time~
"Bucket, I didn't hear you. Besides, you know you're supposed to walk in a group."
Head shaking. "But Mom, I'm trying to do big things by myself!"
"I know that too, but this isn't one of those things that you need to do by yourself. I need for you to walk in a group with your brother and sister."
"Mom, you treat me like a baby!"
"No, I'm not. I'm expecting you to do the same thing Missy and Tiger do. That is, walk in a group with your friends and not take off by yourself. If I was treating you like a baby, you wouldn't get to go out at all. If you want me to treat you like a young man, then you need to go young man things. "
Now he hung his head.
"I'm sorry I made you worry." Then the normal sparkle came back. "Can I still stay tonight? They're having a party!"
"Yes, you can stay. I want you to have fun, and stay in the parking lot with Missy until I pick you up."
"Ok, bye Mom!"
In the last five years, I never would have guessed that I'd have a conversation with him like that. I smile, and my heart is happy, to know that he can reason, that he can understand my emotions, that he can be part of a group. It almost makes up for the fact that I nearly had a heart attack when I couldn't find him.