So, I never post without pictures, but I want to write this down and process it. Chris and I had something totally wonderful happen to us and I just have to share it.
We spent our morning "touring" the kindergarten here because Garrett is headed there next fall. When we left we were reminded to pick up a handbook from the Fellowship Hall, which I proceeded to do - Chris didn't go in because he didn't want to be asked to come back to work the Open House which he had done for most of the morning. As I walked out our Superintendent said "Oh, Chris forgot this". I took the envelope and walked out the door. Since it was addressed "VanSlootens" and already opened I opened it and read the contents. )Chris hadn't actually seen it yet)..."This is a RANSOM note." It went on to say that our kids were going to be kidnapped, and that to get them back we would have to go on a date night. A professional babysitter would be at our house at 5:30 and we had to do exactly what she told us.
WHAT!?! So, we anxiously awaited for the babysitter to arrive - all the while trying to figure out who was behind this. When LaShanda walked up to the house we thought "OK, so her parents are responsible." But, no, LaShanda had gotten a letter in her school mailbox saying that her Saturday night had been "hijacked" and that she had to babysit our kids (They included payment and did allow her to turn it down, but we're glad she didn't). She gave us the next clue which directed us to go to an Art Show featuring Rehoboth students' artwork where we would get our next clue. So, we got to the Art Show, and we were given our final clue, directions to go for dinner with a VERY generous gift certificate. The clue told us what time we to finish our date and said "We're watching you."
Chris and I went for dinner and felt sooo extravagant to order an appetizer, wine, amazing food, and gelato...We usually to this restaurant for pizza and gelato with the kids, so this was such a special treat! After dinner we had a little bit of time left so we did what lots of parents do on dates (we think) and stopped off at the grocery store and stopped to rent a movie. We arrived home a few minutes early and found a note taped to our back door saying that because we had complied with their demands they had also taken the liberty of cleaning our house. OK, this was just crazy! We walked into the house laughing about how extravagant this was and then we heard LaShanda calling "Nikki, um, Nikki? Can you come here?" I found her blindfolded and tied up on our living room couch! Apparently after she had put the kids to bed she came out of Campbell's room to find 4? people dressed in black with ski masks and goggles on who told her to be quiet and not ask questions. I couldn't believe that she didn't scream, but she said deep down she knew that the whole set-up of the night was kidnapping and hijacking so she was able to keep from totally freaking out! These people did laundry, cleaned our playroom, washed the dishes!
I don't know who did this. I have my suspicions, but no real idea of who could have come up with this. With all that has been going on in our life in the last nine months this act of kindness was so over the top, lavish, extravagant! Chris and I have said so many times since Campbell's birth that we are surrounded by such an amazing cloud of witnesses, and this was another example of how God has blessed us through our AMAZING community. As I sit here and think of how we have been upheld by our friends and neighbors, especially since Jason's diagnosis in December, I am so humbled to think that so many people have showered us with love, prayers, encouragement, support!
Because I'll probably never know who kidnapped our kids, this is my thank you note to them. Thank you for giving us time together as adults; you probably didn't know, but this was our first dinner date in 9 months (except once at Christmas from Oma and Opa)! Thank you for doing something for us that we haven't been able to do for ourselves. Thank you for your creativity which allowed us to have such fun and a sense of excitement! Thank you for taking our minds off of the many heavy things that we've been worrying and anxious about! Thank you for being part of our lives and for loving us, taking care of us, and praying for us!
And if you know who did this - you don't have to tell me - but please, give them a hug for me!