It was after 9:30 before I decided I should at least try to sleep, but knowing my husband was driving alone on dark, stormy roads with a cell phone nearly out of battery power made me uncomfortable. I felt the same dis-ease I felt as a parent who was trying to sleep knowing her teenager was driving home late at night.
Should I try to sleep with the cell phone near me so I could hear a text or call come in? Steve was headed to vacation with our youngest son and some extended family members while I stayed home to work — or while I “staycationed,” as not having to cook or clean for my husband or son and choosing how to spend my waking hours outside of work seemed like a vacation to me, too. Initially, I was worried about staying by myself in our big home that once housed seven. Had I ever spent a night alone here?
I had expected my husband to leave for the trip mid-afternoon after a brief day at work. Instead, he came through the door at nearly 5 in the middle of a summer rainstorm. Certain he’d stay the night and leave in the morning, I felt happy to have one less night alone in the big house. But at 6 p.m. when he decided to tackle the five-hour drive despite the hour and the rain, I was more nervous about him driving than me being alone.
The other vacationers had arrived in Marco Island Friday; my husband was joining them on Sunday, driving alone. I had dutifully helped him pack for the journey and run errands to help him get on the road in a more timely manner, thinking I would complete my housework after his exit and thus have a clean home to enjoy for a full week before the boys returned. (Oh, yeah, I’d be living the dream…)
When he called me as he passed through Tampa to let me know his cell phone was dying and to ask me to tell our son his estimated time of arrival, I might have panicked, except, well, what good would it have done?
And so I did the next best thing: I prayed for his safety, then sent my son a text, alerting him to the situation and asking him to keep me posted, trying to emphasize that he let me know as soon as he heard from Dad and when Dad actually arrived.
“Will do!” my 19-year-old exclaimed (via text message). (OK, I imagined the exclamation, apparently.) I was certain he knew I was a bit anxious and how important his communication was to me. I reiterated my desire to know when he arrived before I reluctantly went to bed.
Surprisingly, I slept. When I awakened to use the bathroom sometime before my alarm Monday morning, I had an anxious moment or so realizing I had no idea if Steve had arrived safely or not.
“No news is good news,” I thought, as I willed myself back to sleep rather than walk to the kitchen to check my cell phone. I’m not sure how I thought bad news would be communicated to me, as I hadn’t chosen to sleep with the phone beside my bed after all. A loud knocking at the front door in the middle of the night from a police officer with bad news?
“No news is no news,” I correctly mused as I reconsidered the situation. For a moment I deliberated — bad news would still be bad even if I slept a little longer, right? No need to rush it. But I knew I wasn’t going to master a return to sleep, and I decided to go check my phone to get what I hoped would be news of my husband’s safe arrival.
But I didn’t find the series of texts I would have expected. A “Dad called and is almost here” followed somewhat later by a “He’s here.” Simple, right?
Instead I got Adam’s afterthought: “Oh. Dad is here safely btw” a good hour or more after his safe arrival.
No need to rush good news either, apparently. 🙂