The Man arrived in Dallas early Thursday morning. He sent me a text message as I'd requested to let me know he'd landed safely.
When last I asked, he was going to pick up the girls sometime on Thanksgiving and head to Oklahoma to spend some time with his dad, sister, and nephews. But, as of Wednesday night, he and his ex had not firmed up the plans yet.
Before heading to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner, I sent him a quick text. A little later, I called and got his voice mail. I didn't leave a message and he didn't call back. But I didn't really expect him too. It was Thanksgiving, after all, and he was spending it with his two daughters. He doesn't get to see them often, and I don't expect him to spend his limited time with them on the phone with me.
But that night I got a call from his ex. She was expecting The Man to pick up the girls that morning, but he'd never shown up. He hadn't called to say he wasn't coming, or to reschedule. And he wasn't responding to her texts. She wondered if I knew where he was.
I had no idea where he was.
My mind raced with possible scenarios. Maybe he'd lost his phone and, with it, everyone's phone numbers. Maybe he'd changed his plans and just neglected to tell anyone. Maybe he'd gone on to Oklahoma without the girls. Maybe he'd gotten sick like I had the night before, and was sleeping it off in a hotel room somewhere. Maybe the red eye flight had knocked him into a slumber so deep it would take the kiss of a prince to wake him.
Or maybe he'd been mugged and beaten into a bloody pulp outside the airport.
Or maybe his rental car had been run off the road by a semi truck and he was bleeding out in a ditch.
I tried not to think on it too much. The lost phone or deep slumber were the most likely answers. I called him again and left a concerned message, and tried not to worry.
But I did. I worried all night, calling and texting periodically with dwindling hope that he'd answer. Finally, sick to my stomach, I put myself to bed. I tossed and turned all night.
This morning, there was still no word. I pulled the covers over my head and worked up the nerve to call again. I didn't think I could stand to get his voicemail again. What would it mean if he still wasn't answering his phone?
But he didn't answer, and I wasn't any closer to knowing what it meant. So I sent a text to his ex asking if she'd ever heard from him. "Yes, finally this morning," she replied.
I was so relieved, I think I actually skipped down the hallway in celebration until it occurred to me: "But what the hell happened to him yesterday? And why hasn't he called me to tell me he's okay."
I got a second text from his ex asking me if I'd heard from him. And then, after admitting that I hadn't, she told me that he'd picked the girls up a while ago and was taking them, she thought, shopping.
Okay. So not only was he alive, but he was well enough to pick them up and take them shopping.
Though I still didn't understand why he hadn't called me to let me know he was okay, I was happy to assume that he was in a rush to make up for a lost day with his girls and would call me when he could. So I called him and left a message telling him that I knew he was okay, and requested that he call me as soon as he had a minute because I was still a little freaked out.
After that night of worrying, I really needed to hear his voice.
A little before noon, the phone rang. I was in the shower, but I'd brought both my home and my cell phone into the bathroom with me, just in case. I scrambled to turn off the water and eagerly answered the phone, shivering and dripping all over the bathroom floor. But my hopeful "hello?"s went unanswered. I could hear The Man talking to his oldest daughter and her small, excited voice answering back. It sounded like they were at a park. And it sounded like his phone was in his pocket.
I waited, hoping. Maybe he'd just set the phone down to deal with a playground emergency? Maybe he'd hear my voice through his pocket? But it became increasingly clear that he had no idea he'd called me, and I finally gave up and hung up. I sent him a quick text but, knowing he was currently occupied with playtime, I didn't expect a response.
And I didn't get one.
I still haven't gotten one.
I'm still waiting.
I'm still worrying.
I know he's okay, so I shouldn't worry. But what the hell is going on? Chaos, I'm sure. He has only a few days to spend with his girls, not to mention the rest of his family that he's hoping to visit. I'm certain he's just focused and doesn't want to waste a second of his precious time with them.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't expect a call. But given the scare I had last night, I don't think a 30 second call to say "everything's fine, we'll talk later" is an unreasonable thing to ask for. What is going on that he doesn't have a few seconds to even just send a text?
And so still I worry. It's going to be a long weekend.
Revisiting the Bad Mother Manifesto
1 hour ago