I mentioned previously that my Beloved's brother is dying. The family gathered at middle brother's house on Saturday to be supportive and make sure that everyone had a chance to see oldest brother. After all, it's really only a matter of time.
KK had a previous event, so she missed out on meeting all of her cousins and aunties and uncles. Hay-Hay, on the other hand, lived up to her previous nickname of "Poker Face". She hardly spoke and if she did, it was barely above a whisper.
I was so thankful when Soldier Mommy and the Game Master appeared. Hay-Hay knows them and looks forward to seeing them. Part of the reason for this is that Game Master doesn't let her get away with acting shy around him! He sweeps her up and swings her around and really and truly makes her feel loved.
For the entire afternoon, Hay-Hay was glued to me, Beloved, or Girl. She didn't stray far.
Just as dusk was descending, I noticed that Hay-Hay was not glued to my side. I looked around...she wasn't anywhere in the kitchen. I looked out the window to where Beloved was standing. I could see all the other children playing, but there was no sign of Hay-Hay. I sought out Girl...and still no Hay-Hay.
She had refused to play with any of the other children.
Where had she gone?
I checked the bathrooms. I went outside and asked Beloved if he has seen her. I asked Girl if she knew where Hay-Hay had gotten to. We looked in bedrooms and down the street.
She was gone.
Other family members started to search as well.
All I could think was that I was going find her somewhere hidden away, with someone doing something awful to her...and I knew right then and there, that I would beat that person to death.
As rage and fear begin to fill my heart, my eyes searched each nook and cranny.
Beloved and I stood looking at each other, trying to figure out where to look next when our nephew remembered that his mom was moving a car. I whipped out my cell phone and punched her number. She answered on the 2nd ring...
"I HAVE YOUR DAUGHTER!"
Relief washed over me. Apparently, Hay-Hay had followed Solider Mommy out to the driveway and had been invited to ride along as Soldier Mommy moved her sister's car. Because the parking was tight, Soldier Mommy had backed the car around the corner and out of sight.
When they returned to the house, I explained to Hay-Hay that I was glad she was comfortable with Soldier Mommy and wanted to go places with her, but that she MUST always check with Beloved or me. "At least send me a text," I laughed.
It wasn't until we were driving home, Hay-Hay riding in Girl's car, that I realized how upsetting the entire episode had been. I told Beloved where my mind had gone and of the violent thoughts that had flooded my mind. I told him that I was certain that I would have killed someone had they harmed her.
Those few minutes had sealed our fates. This little girl is forever a part of our hearts and it doesn't matter if her last name is the same as ours or not. She is a part of us.
And so she is.