Yesterday morning our eldest daughter got herself up, dressed, washed, brushed her hair, then announced that she was going into town. We raised eyebrows at each other, and thought no more of it.

She re-appeared shortly after lunch, soaked from the persistent rain that had been falling, complained about having wet hair, then headed back into town.


“Yes – just hanging out in the coffee shop”

Again, we let her get on with it. The younger children were going to meet up with friends, and my other half was going grocery shopping. I got on with chores for the afternoon, and occasionally looked in on Google Maps (we use location sharing with the kids phones). From 4pm onwards Miss 17’s location showed as the middle of the river on the way our of town. I figured her phone must have gone flat, or the battery had gone low enough that the GPS had stopped reporting – using cell towers instead.

Time ticked on, and suddenly it was 7pm, raining, dark outside, and still no sign of her. Her phone was going straight to the answering machine, as was the phone of her closest friend (who we suspected she was with).

Instead of sitting down to eat the spaghetti bolognese we had just finished making for dinner, I pulled my coat on and headed out into the rain. I walked first to the railway station, then towards the centre of town, and along all the main roads. At one point I walked out to the bridge, where Google Maps said she had been earlier in the day. I saw nobody, anywhere. Looping back through town for a second time my other half called me.

“No – no sign of her anywhere.”

When I got home – soaked to the skin – we logged into her email and Facebook accounts, found the parents of her friend, and they tried to call their daughter too. Nothing. At that point we called the police and reported her missing. It was now nearly 9pm, almost below zero outside, and had been dark for a couple of hours. She had now been out of the house for eight hours, and in truth we had no idea if she was even in town any more.

Fifteen minutes later she walked in the front door.

Half an hour after that the police arrived – a stereotypical towering male police officer, and a trainee female officer. The trainee sat with us at the dinner table filling out paperwork, while the senior officer went in her room and “had a chat”.

Their story? They had been sitting under the bridge out of town all afternoon and evening, to keep out of the rain. Suddenly the “just going out for coffee” made sense – and all the secrecy made sense. The person she had met up with is not welcome in our house, after a sustained campaign of manipulation, bullying, and emotional blackmail. Of course she threw this in our face immediately – if we hadn’t banned the friend (that she hadn’t gone to meet) from the house, she would not have been sitting under the bridge with them all night.

This morning she got up, dressed, and stood in the doorway.

“I’m going out”


“To their house”

“That’s fine – all we need to know is where you are. Is your phone charged?”


Why is none of this in the parenting instruction book ?


23 thoughts on “Missing”

    1. Yeah – could do with a few very boring days. Somehow I imagine we’ll be putting her back together again very soon though (each time it’s happened recently, it’s been because of this person).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I hope for your sake and hers that no putting back together will be necessary. I know what you mean about being ready for some very boring days… do we ever get those while raising teens?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Been there, got the tshirt. It’s horrendous. Kids have no idea what goes through your head they just don’t see the dangers at that age. No matter what you say, it never soaks in. Something as simple as a charged phone or a text to let you know makes all the difference. Sigh!! We had it with our eldest. Have to go through it all again with our youngest who is 11. No wonder my hair is turning grey.

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  2. As scary as it was for you, I’m glad you didn’t ground her or anything drastic. I was always a good kid and the one time I stayed out too late rollerskating with my friends and my parents drove around looking for me, I was grounded for a month. As an adult, I can understand they were scared I was dead or kidnapped, but it was really unfair to ground me when all we were doing was rollerskating late at night (in a very safe neighborhood in the 1970s) and then we stopped at a local theater to meet another friend after her play. Very innocent. No drugs, no drinking, not even any boys! This was before cell phones and we didn’t see a phone at the theater. Please parents…make the punishment fit the crime. A simple “Next time skate home first and tell us where you’re off to next!” would’ve sufficed. Being 15 years old it never occurred to us. Glad your girl was safe! Sorry she’s hanging out with the wrong crowd.

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  3. Oh my goodness! How frightening! I’ve heard a very similar story; flat phone, missed train and a wrong turn. That one also ended with two very frightened parents, police at the house… and then the fashionably late teen waltzing through the door after dark. I’m so glad she turned up safe! 😀

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  4. Oh my such an exhausting scary but frustrating feeling been there several times with my 17 yr old son … not fun .This summer my hubby and I went out at 1in the morning calling his bluff . Yeah he gets it we find out. Nothing major but the oh just going out to get some food hours and hours later nothing then stories pile up . Watch out for that. And the answer to the question to your friend in my opinion boys twice has hard to raise…. happy she is safe . Be firm with and she will stay safe 🙂

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  5. I’m glad she’s okay. My niece does this all the time, and same with the phone never being charged/or on. and then comes strolling in like it wasn’t a big deal. While everyone in the house is out driving through all the near by neighborhoods looking for her. I think it must be a teenage thing. I know once she became a teenager, everything changed.

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