Friday, January 25, 2013

Behind the panic...

Do you ever watch those missing person shows where a man or woman just suddenly disappears?
No trace whatsoever and the family is left reeling in despair. Well, I do.
Those shows intrigue me…and scare me too - if I’m being honest.

Usually when the family members are interviewed – they always say things like:

Mary ALWAYS answered her cell phone. Always.

Mary NEVER would have left the children. Never.

Mary NEVER would have gone anywhere like that without calling us first. Never.

Mary ALWAYS called me every day before she went to bed. Always.


Those statements are true…which is why the family knows that something is usually wrong.
Something sinister has probably happened.

Humans are habit creatures. We take the same route home every day. We have a morning routine we rarely stray from. We have daily, weekly and sometimes hourly tasks we do without fail. We put our makeup on in a certain order. We go to bed a certain way watching a certain show.

If you’re like Rambo and I, we even have a certain we that we say I love you to each other.
It’s habit and routine and you can count on it.

What the hell am I getting at? Nothing, really. Other than I realized that it’s damn scary when you need someone and they aren’t there and routine and history tells you that they should be.

I’ve felt this so many times, it isn’t funny. When Rambo was over the road and I couldn’t reach him about the second or third time – panic set in – bad. Fear would take over and I’d imagine his semi in a ditch and him never coming home. If it went on for hours – I’d end up calling his boss.

Because the fact of the matter was, he ALWAYS picked up his phone in the semi. Always.

That never ended when Rambo went into prison work. It probably only intensified. Rambo emails me all day long for his entire shift. When I get to work – an email is already waiting for me. Always.

If he’s taking a prisoner to a hospital or to another prison – then he texts me at every stop to tell me how he’s doing and where he’s at.

It’s comforting.

In the 15 years that he has been in corrections – there have been a few days when I haven’t heard from him.

 Panic like I’ve never known sets in then. After a certain amount of hours, I call the Lieutenant and ask where Sgt. Rambo is and the Lt. tells me which unit Rambo is on. Then he’ll say, “Do you want to talk to him?”

I say nope. I just needed to know he was okay. The Lt. just laughs…because he knows the terror I was feeling and he’s happy to have taken it away for me. He knows exactly why I called.

I have a point, I swear.

Last night for some reason, Watermelon was done with basketball practice and she called my phone, the home phone and Rambo’s phone and we didn’t answer. We were working out with the TV up way too loud. She called multiple times.

Finally, Banana realized my phone was ringing upstairs so she brought it down to me.
I saw that my mom had called.

I called her back.

My Dad answered.

My Dad does not answer phones or call anyone. Ever. It makes him too anxious.

I was caught off guard by his voice and for a second, I panicked that something had happened to my mom. I said, “Dad, did Mom call me?”

He went on to say that Watermelon called them because she couldn’t get a hold of us and that they tried themselves a lot of times to reach us.

He was borderline angry and on the edge of panic.
He was scared to death something had happened to us.

Because we ALWAYS answer our phones and we NEVER leave our kid stranded at the school.

It all got straightened out but afterwards I felt bad for my Dad. I haven’t talked to him in weeks or seen him though he’s only a mile away but behind the panic in his voice is the fact that he’d never recover if he lost me.

I matter to him. He worries about me. He wouldn’t panic if he didn’t give a damn.

He may never be able to say that out loud or voice those words in person…but I’m thankful that I can hear them behind the panic.

I think years ago, I probably just would have been defensive at his angry tone.
But now I see it wasn’t anger.
It was love.

It may have been in an odd container vs. how the rest of the world shows and talks about love –
but it was there just the same.

I needed to record that here so I can come back and
remember this in times when doubt of that love creeps in.


Fit Mom said...

Awe! I get the same way when I cant get a hold of my husband too- especially when he is out of town. Sorry that panic was raised but it was good that she could call your parents when she couldnt reach all of you.

InWeighOverMyHead said...

oh wow. that made me cry.

jennxaz said...

ok...I get that way with bloggers...I mean seriously, if any of you will I know? You will just stop will I know you died? Us AZ bloggers said that we will leave a note for our hubbies to post on our blog that we died..just to ease my!

Marc said...

Relationships can be complicated oftentimes. I have a son-in-law and step-daughter whose safety concerns are like a homeland security alert system. Call me when you get to Safeway so I don't worry. Call me when you're done shopping and heading home. Call me when you get to your mother's so I know you arrived safely. Geezus! It all seems like a control mechanism to me, or borderline hysteria. I realize your situation is entirely different. So far as your relationship with your father goes...a mile away...seriously? As a father and grandfather I feel sadness when I read that.

safire said...

I'm a creature of habit and it scares me when I expect something to happen and it doesn't. I definitely am slightly paranoid and will call.

I'm not the type to ignore my instincts.

Barbara said...

I know exactly what you mean. Its like the radar goes off. When I didnt hear from my girls, I always thought they might be dead in a ditch.. little did I stop to think that maybe they lost track of time and where having a good time.

Big hugs.. and deep breaths!!

Connie O said...

Since I'm old enough to remember the days before cell phones, this makes me think about how cell phones have changed our culture by making us able to keep such close track of each other--so that NOT being able to reach someone makes you panic. In the old days, you would have had to prearrange a pickup time with Watermelon instead of saying, "Call me when you're done." It's a whole different world--much better in some ways.

Cat said...

I cannot tell you how much I love the stories you tell of when you can see the love in your Dad. It brings tears to my eyes because I know you have had a rough life with your father. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Oh - I worry too, I always call G when I may be late to make sure he knows I'm not in a ditch. He even answers the phone, "Hi Ditch-Bee!" when I call. (Bee is our nickname for on another, it's short for Baby.)

LDswims said...

Oh good God how I love how far you've come. I remember who you were in 2010, in 2009, and what you would have said back then. I remember wanting to strangle you for being so damned smart about everything but not seeing the apples to oranges comparison. I know you want your dad to be the apple that you are. But I also know, now, that you are probably more orange like him. Nonetheless, the evolution is amazing and inspiring and makes me want to sing with glee. You are amazing, Chica. Absolutely amazing. Because yes, you do have that daddy you've always wanted. You just need to see that. And that's what this story is.

Thank you for sharing it. I love you.

Now - back on the sap truck - have a happy, glorious, and beautiful weekend! I love you!!!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Some people are ridiculous with their phones and the texting. My sister has now resorted to going the bathroom umpteen times to not get yelled at for texting at the table. My husband doesn't even have a cell phone. He's either at work or home. If he goes somewhere, which is never, he'll call me before leaving work, from the work phone. He feels if he breaks down he'll just walk for help. I have a phone because I'm always with the kids, and they'd complain if I made them walk anywhere!

Wendie Haynes said...

I think you must be my long lost sister and we have the same dads. But I guess not, mine only lives 10 min from me too. :-)
I understand EVERYTHING you said! My hubby always texts me so it's waiting for me when I get up. I panic when I don't hear from him. We have our own little love code too. My dad doesn't do phones either and after calling me when my grandma died & my grandpa had a heart attack I told him he wasn't allowed to call me anymore!!! He's gotten better about sometimes calling instead of making my mom, but I still initially panic every time.
Know you are not alone!

Joanna said...

There have been a couple of times in our relationship where I've been in an emergency situation and haven't been able to reach him... and it seems that those are the times I can never get him to answer his phone. I get so angry. And it's because I'm the one in trouble, yet I'm worrying about him not answering his phone.

Last night, we watched the movie Chained... you should check it out. Freaky - and exactly what you're talking about.