Not the life that I've already lived, mind you, filled with free will and pancakes fast food drive throughs. But my future life. My future life making license plates, do-it-yourself tattoos and avoiding prison gang rape.
Ellie was gone.
I vaguely remembered her coming into my room around Why Oh Why Are You Awake O'clock asking to watch cartoons. And like any good Mom I told her the cartoons were still sleeping, rolled over and went back to my awesome dream that my sister-in-law married a pro wrestler which resulted in me frequently turning up looking fabulous in the pages of Us Weekly. I also vaguely remembered her crawling in bed with me right before I drifted off.
I woke up a few hours later to an empty bed and silence. Which was bad. Real bad.
What I should have woken up to was the sound of a 2-year-old emptying her Diaper Genie into a dresser drawer or a certain someone jumping up and down in her bed in an attempt to catapult through her window to freedom.
I leaped out of bed, which is not an easy feat considering my back has passed the point of no return and getting out of bed usually takes about 20 minutes, a Clydesdale and a biting stick.
I pushed through the pain, forcing one foot in front of the other, and in a very Grimace like fashion flailed my arms in circles on either side of me to help propel me forward.
She wasn't in her bed or in her room. Or anywhere upstairs. I hobbled (pants-less, mind you - I also vaguely remembered kicking them off last night because this belly becomes an inferno after 2am) downstairs.
My frantic screams of "ELLIE!" as I limped from room to room were met with silence. I ran, breathless, into the playroom, where she was laying calmly on her stomach doing a puzzle.
"What are you doing?" I asked, acting as cool as possible while trying not to pass out from a combination of pain, panic and eating nothing but Halloween candy for the past 17 hours.
"Playing with blankie," She said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Oh, okay," I said, clutching my chest and getting into the fetal position.
Then I had an idea.
"Hey," I asked, lifting my head off the carpet. "Wanna learn how to make pancakes all by yourself?"