Once we were home, after a quick milk-and-cookie (and can I just say that I'm thrilled to see my kids both drink a glass of milk and eat a homemade cookie, because so many things would have stopped Dash from doing that simple thing a while ago - he would only drink milk if it was chocolate; the walnuts I snuck into the cookies would have sent him running a mile), Dash hooked his light saber to his belt, donned his bike helmet for protection, and we all went out to wait for M to finish his homework. (Dash doesn't have homework on Fridays.) After twenty minutes, Dash was lying on the chilly grass, Mabel was climbing the rhodedendron, and I was getting cold. I suggested we go inside again and watch out the window to see when M would be ready to play. Dash reluctantly agreed.
After another half hour or so inside, with Dash bugging me to look out the window every minute (while I told him to go and look out the lower window in the other room, but he was afraid he'd be missing something if he didn't have the full range of views), Dash suddenly announced "He's coming out!"
Hooray. "...with his dad and his brother. His dad's getting into the car..." Dash continued. I looked out the window. There was no sign of anyone, except the kid's mother coming outside with something that the others had evidently forgotten, and deciding not to get into her car and drive after them with it. No sign of M.
"I think he's gone with his dad, Dash. I'm sorry."
Poor Dash was quietly crushed. I could tell because he didn't say anything. He didn't cry, but all the excitement had drained away and he was just a kindergartener who wasn't getting to play light sabers with a second-grader again today.
There's always tomorrow. I hope M comes out to play tomorrow.