So it's taken me a while to recover from the scare. It helps to know that kids have a way with scaring the wits out of their parents with their "jokes," knee-slappers like hiding for record amounts of time and watching us all run around screaming like imbeciles.
We were over at my parents' house for dinner the other night, when Mom and Nanny began reliving their past history. Mom accused Nanny of psychological abuse ("She would say if we were bad, she was leaving, then she'd go hide"; Nanny: "You would have too, if you knew what her and Michael were like together"), and Nanny told us about the time her mother disappeared.
It was during the war, apparently, because my great-grandfather wasn't home (he was an officer in the Royal Air Force). Somehow, late at night, Nanny woke up and realized that her mother wasn't in the house. Nor was she in the outhouse (because back then, country dwellers didn't have indoor loos). As the second-oldest of five, and the only girl, it was her responsibility to keep panic at bay.
So she woke up the boys and informed them that Jesus took their mother, and they were all left behind. While the others began to weep and wail, her brother Tom rather level-headedly asked, "Will my Daddy be away, too?"
In the end, of course, their mother had gone to the neighbor's house, for the young woman had gone into labor. She stayed with the girl until the midwife arrived, and returned home to ask what all the commotion was about. When her relieved children explained they thought the Almighty had come to take their mother among the faithful (of whom they apparently were not a part), their mother replied, "I wish he had."
I hope one day I can laugh as hard at Ethan hiding in the stuffed toys as Nanny did recounting the time she thought she had been Left Behind.