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Archive for July, 2009

So, based on our stats, it appears as if a TON of people have been stopping by for any updates on my brother.  I’ll attempt to briefly explain the last few days of events.

Wednesday at about 3pm Chris disappeared from some of my parents’ friends house.  My parents were in Seattle together, and had left Chris with their friends while they were gone.  My mom first tried to call us at about 8pm to let us know he was gone, and niether of us had our phones near us, and so we didnt hear until we got about 4 emails between the two of us to call them. 

At about 11:30 our time we called my mom and she let us know he was gone, along with a few vague details.  I asked what they’d done, and up to that point, they had searched all over, and filed a missing person’s report.  I guess the police up there are reluctant to do a whole lot if its a first time run away child.  Reluctant doesnt even begin to describe it I learned.

Immediately Dave and I tried to think of things that we could do.  I called every TV station up there to see if they could air his picture and get it out there.  They are reluctant to air run away stories because of the frequency.  A few people were very willing to help, and gave me emails for the stations as well as let me know they needed a missing persons case number.  I called the local police up there and got a case # and spoke with an officer.  I was floored at his response.  He was very blase about the whole thing and not only insensitive, but told me that his own son does marijuana and runs around with druggie kids and dealers.  That its not uncommon to have drug use up there, and even less uncommon for these kids to run away.  I about lost it.  I let him know he was the most pathetic excuse of a police officer I’d ever seen, and he sounded like a hick.  That drugs, even marijuana, are a huge deal, and maybe if they made a bigger deal out of it, they wouldn’t have such a problem.  Needless to say, this adds another reason to never live in Oregon, much less Clackamas County.  I know my parents have enjoyed it there, but the trade off I’d feel for the lack of safety, in no way makes me feel like the pro’s are worth it.

After speaking to this guy, we continued to do everything we could think of.  Dave pulled a picture off of Chris’s facebook page and made a missing poster of sorts to send out to the media.  Dave emailed everyone that had commented on Chris facebook in the last few weeks and asked if they had any idea where he was.  We did everything we could think of, and then finally went to bed around 4am. 

The next morning, Dave got up and went to work around 7am.  My husband is amazing.  Even more amazing, that morning when I called him, he came straight home so that he could watch the girls while I tried to think of anything and everything I could to give us clues as to where he went.  The girls were largely by themselves watching TV that morning.  My sweet father in law came home to watch the girls before Dave got home, so that I could be calling and doing other things.  From 3 states away, we were able to really learn a lot about where a run away child would go in the Portland area!

Dave watched the girls the remainder of Thursday and frequently came  in to see who I was talking to, or to give ideas of other things to try and do that my parents nor I had thought of.  When he put the girls down to bed, he came in and helped me.  Thursday night, we went to bed, again, around 4am.

Friday was another whirlwind.  I was in pretty much constant contact with my dad.  Anything that either of us could think of, that he would do if he was home, I did from the little office in  Dave’s parents house.   I seriously did not leave this office for about 10 hours straight every day that he was gone.   

I’m so grateful for modern technology because it allowed me to help out in ways I would not have been able to otherwise.  I’m so thankful for a sweet, supportive husband, who was as worried about Chris as I was.  But also for my father in law, Dale, who helped out by faxing posters to different places that did not have email addresses.  My in laws would come home every night, as well as call frequently through out the day, to see if there was anything they could do, or anything new that had happened.  In a lot of ways, its been such a blessing living here during this, because I’ve had the help I would not have had if we were living somewhere else. 

Chris was found at about 9pm local time on Friday night.  A reward had been put out, and that got the jaws wiggling of some of the delinquent kids that had helped hide him for 2 1/2 days.  He was found by a police officer and taken in, before being released to my parents a few hours later.  The police officer that found him was his Student Resource Officer, a guy who had really impressed me after talking to the first idiot.  This officer was completely concerned about Chris, and finding him and bringing him home.  I’m quite certain he probably was not on duty when he found him.

I’m just so glad he’s safe.  I hope now, he realizes that so many people love him.  That now, he should not be worrying about apologies to everyone, but getting the help he needs to get his life back together, and that getting it together would be the biggest apology and say more than anything he could portray in words.  So many people love him and want to see him succeed.

I’m so impressed by the friends and family we have.  Dave and I sent out emails to everyone we knew, and got so many responses back offering prayers and thoughts, and even people who had forwarded his picture on to anyone they knew in the area.  The response that we got to a simple email, was so overwhelming, and comforting as well.  Strangers that I spoke to in OR were willing to go past protocal and help in anyway they could.  Attendants at Greyhound bus stations were giving me their personal email addresses to send a missing flyer to so they could print it out and post it.  It was amazing, and kept me going.

Sometimes I think we underestimate the value of people.  I think we underestimate the need to have solid, healthy relationships in life.  Before I met Dave I really believed that I only could rely on myself and that I could make it through life on my own.  Dave and I fought a LOT when we were first together.  A lot of it was about family, but the things that only had to do with the two of us, were because I would not let him in.  Dave stood next to me and never left, no matter how many times I tried to push him away.  Believe you me, there were plenty.  He never left, and taught me that being able to count on someone, no matter what, is one of the best things a person can have.  I love being married to Dave, because I know that no matter what, we can face anything together and still come out on top. 

I’m so grateful for him and our relationship.  I’m so thankful for the Dad he is.  Last night when I came into bed, he and Charli were snuggled up together and the song “Butterfly Kisses” was playing on the iPod.  Tears came to my eyes as I realized how short everything in life is.  I love where we’re at right now.  Where our girls are still so young and the problems are relatively small.  I hope as they continue to grow they’ll always know that they can come to us for anything.  I hope home is a place they want to be, and want to come home to.  I know it won’t always be that way, but that when things get tough, they come there, and to us, not anyone or anything else.  Growing up is so hard, and I only hope that we ease that transition and facilitate the growth.

Lastly, I’d like to wish Chris a Happy Birthday.  Today my baby brother is 15.  I remember the first time time I held him in my arms.  I remember sharing a room with him when I was a kid, and waking up to his chubby little face and giggles.  I remember staying home to babysit him when he was little.  He’s such a funny kid with so many things going for him. 

Chris, we love you, Dave and I, and your nieces.  We hope that today is a good day and that you find something fun to do.  Please know that we’re always here for you and only want you to be happy and the best you can be.  Don’t forget all your plans and aspirations.  Have a Happy Birthday, and we hope this next year brings lots of smiles and good things.

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So over the holiday weekend we went down to Vegas.  I lived there for about 6 years prior to Oklahoma, and my Granny and some of my cousins from my father’s side still live there.  Its a “quick trip” that we can go down for a weekend and still be back in time for work on Monday.  By quick trip, I mean it used to be a quick trip when Dave and I had no kids.  Now, its about 8-9 hours, depending on how many potty breaks we have to take.

We drove down Wednesday, as Dave had taken Thursday off.  The drive was a LOT of rain.  The girls were excellent and we got in sometime after 12am.  We went to bed and then Thursday didn’t do a whole lot of anything.  We got in the jacuzzi and played with the girls, and that night went to our favorite store, Trader Joe’s, and picked up some dinner and a couple side things to go with the wings we were having from Buffalo Wild Wings.  My Granny and Grandpa work at the LDS temple in Las Vegas on Thursdays, so it was a little break for us with just the girls, which doesn’t happen very often, considering we live with family.

Friday my cousin got there(WAHOOOO!!!!!) and I “skyped” with my Aunt Anita.  I haven’t talked to her in something like 2 years.  I think the last time we spoke was when I told her I was pregnant with Charli.  It was good to talk to her, I got to “meet” her little boy Andrue, who is about a year older than Tori.  Its so weird to me because Andrue is technically my cousin, but it feels like he’s not, because he’s the same age as my daughter.  That’s how spread out my family is.  Anita also got to “meet” Dave and then later Tori, when she woke up screaming.  It was good to talk to her and catch up!

I had an AWESOME time with my cousin Brooke.  The time was too short, but we managed to spend a large chunk of Saturday just hanging out.  We went and with Tori, all got manicures and pedicures.  The place we went to sucked, but it was more about the time together, then the actual manicure.  We were able to talk a lot and it was so fun getting to know her.  She’s 7 years younger then me, and being that we’ve always lived away from family, I’ve never really had the chance to get to know her.  We had so much fun together and I only wish it was longer!

The rest of the trip was a wash.  I’m not going to go into too many details, as really, the details are exhausting and maddening.  However I will discuss my BIGGEST problem of the whole trip.

I CANNOT STAND people who don’t respect others rights and wishes.  In this circumstance I’m referring to my parenting rights for my child, and my wish that she be in a car seat AT ALL TIMES when in a vehicle. 

On the 4th of July I awoke to, “Sarah, I can’t find Tori anywhere, she not in the house, in the back or front yard and both your grandparents’ cars are gone.”  I flew out of bed freaking out.  I called my Granny’s phone and my Grandpa answered and said that Tori was “wandering the house” and so they took her with them when they drove over to the park where their church breakfast was being held.  I nearly had an aneurysm.  They did not take her in a car seat and they did not tell us where they were going or even leave a note.

When Granny got home she justified it to me that we weren’t awake and that Tori was up wandering the house- Dave was awake in our bedroom when Tori first woke up.  The total amount of time she would have been “wandering” was about 20 minutes.  It was 7am, not 12 in the afternoon- it wasn’t like we were just being lazy and sleeping in.  She then continued to tell me that they only went 6 blocks-which was actually 3 miles, ONE WAY, and that’s if she only went there and back, and didn’t take any detours, which are normally commonplace for her.  And furthermore they “didn’t pass one car on the way there or back.”  Obviously a blatant lie.  On top of all this, she claimed that she “double buckled” Tori.  When we talked to Tori about this, she explained to us that she was in the front seat(can you say airbag and windshield?!) and she only had one buckle on.  The details could go on and on.   Here is why Dave and I are really upset.

What is most frustrating about my family is that this is not the first “car seat” incident that has happened.  A few years ago we were at my parents house.  My little sister took the car that had Tori’s seat in it and promised she’d be back before church the next morning.  She wasn’t.  My father gave Dave and I a huge lecture about how nothing is more important(apparently not even the safety of my child, his only granddaughter at the time) than going to church and that car seats didn’t exist when he was a kid, and he’s still alive. 

To Dave’s credit, he was very adamant about not taking her and repeatedly told me that he was not comfortable with her not riding in a seat, and even while driving to church said, “Just so you know, I’m really NOT happy about this”.  To my discredit, I allowed my parents’ shortsighted, extremist views about church attendance influence me enough to tell myself that we needed to go and take Tori without a seat.  Sometimes I get after Dave for not standing up for us to his family and his parents, but really, he is so much better at this than me.  I wish I’d stood up for not just, Tori and her safety, but for Dave and I.  We knew then what was best for Tori, and we still know now what is best for both girls.  Taking Tori without a seat that day is something I regret still.  Yes, nothing ever happened, but if it had, I probably would have died out of anguish and guilt.  That is the ONE and ONLY time Tori has ever ridden without a carseat-that is, until this weekend.

On top of all the fear and everything else, there is another part of this that makes absolutely no sense to Dave and I.  A few years ago, my cousin was killed in a carwreck.  She survived the initial wreck, but was basically in a coma for 2 years before she died.  Towards the end she’d started to regain some communication form, but she never spoke and was a vegetable for the remainder of her life after the accident.  While my cousin could not have been saved by a car seat, it is still baffling to Dave and I, that my family, who has experienced tragedy as a result of a car wreck, does not “get” the whole car seat thing.   I guess to us, it would make more sense for my family to be car seat Nazi’s, considering the things that we’ve seen and experienced as a result of the wreck that eventually took my cousin’s life. 

Its saddest to me that we cannot trust our children’s safety with my family.  Especially after this past weekend, Dave and I feel like we now have to be even more protective of them around my family, because of the lack of care, concern, and respect for not just our children, but our wishes as their parents.  Its sad to me that in my family, we can’t learn a lesson from someone else’s mistake.  That one tragedy is not enough to make people realize how short life is, and that everything should be done to keep children safe- even the “inconvenience” of a car seat.

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