Yaks got invited to go over to his friend P's house to play, which he was really excited about. He would walk home with his friend after school, and I'd pick him up at 4:00 (four hours). I packed him a lunch, so he would have something to eat, and didn't think anymore about it.
Boo got home at her usual time, and by about 1:00, I was watching the clock. "It's only 1:00? He's only been there an hour? Two hours left? That sounds like forever!" Time was dragging - I couldn't believe how slowly. By about 2:00, I felt like I should call him. But, what would I say? I'd feel like P's mom would think I'm checking up on her. He's fine. He's at his best friends' house. What could possibly happen? On and on I rationalized NOT making the call. The minutes ticked by, and I was anxious the whole time. I didn't feel like he was in danger, but I was definitely anxious for him, and I didn't know why. I pushed away the prompting, and I shouldn't have.
Four-o-clock came around, and I went to pick him up. P's mom, who is a good friend, said that Yaks had been a little quiet during the playdate, and she hoped he had a fun time, but that she wasn't sure what was wrong. I thanked her for having him over, and we headed out the door.
Yaks burst into tears. Oh, NO! My mind raced and feared terrible things. I got him in the car and asked him what was wrong. "I'm SO THIRSTY!" was his tearful reply. "I've been thirsty since school, and I need a drink SO BAD!" WHaaaat?
Oh, my gosh. So funny, but also, SO SAD! He was too shy to ask for a drink! Too worried about imposing on his friend's mom for a cup of water. Didn't want to interrupt the playtime, so he sat, uncomfortable for three THIRSTY hours! We had a chat again (over a big drink of ice water) about being assertive, and did a role play for next time, so he knows how to ask for something he needs, etc.
I felt terrible that I had ignored that prompting to call. What could it (the call) have done? Maybe nothing. I may not have been able to ascertain over the phone that he needed a drink or that he was unhappy, but MAYBE I could have. I'll never know because I didn't call. Humbling lesson. I still feel terrible. I felt like this was my little "pre-test" that I failed. I realized that the next time the consequences for NOT listening could be more serious.
Do NOT ignore a prompting, especially regarding your children!