Confessions of a Dreamer
This is about an incident that occurred last night with my 17-year-old daughter. While she did come home safe and sound the hours that passed while we waited felt like a lifetime. I want to write it all down in effort to express the sheer terror that goes through a parent’s mind when they do not know where there child is, even if it is only for a short time.
My daughter calls to check in on her break from work. I have gone to bed early with a migraine so she checks in with her dad and tells him she will be off of work at 11:15, he comes to bed a short time later and we drift off to sleep.
I am awoken by my husband. He got up to get a glass of water and as usual looked in on the kids. My son Nate is sound asleep in his bed. My daughter’s room is empty and there is no sign that she has been home that evening. He wakes me up to tell me she is not home.
After calling her cell phone about 20 times and sending her multiple text messages, our concern slowly changes to panick. She always answers her phone. She has never not come straight home from work. The road she takes home at night is a dangerous, curvy road that is known for deer crossing in the middle of the night. We are in the heart of deer season. Did she hit one? Is she stranded somewhere? Was she in a car accident? A hundred questions run through my mind with a 100 scenarios and none of them are good. My husband gets dressed and takes a drive down the same roads she takes hoping beyond hope that she went somewhere and that he will not see her car somewhere in a ditch.
Time slows down as I wait for him to call me with news, it feels as if each minute is an hour long and that this night will never end.
After unsuccessfully seeing her car anywhere on the road, he returns home and we decide we have no choice. We call the police. Luckily we live in a very small town and 2 am calls on missing teenagers are taken very serious. Within 10 minutes an officer is on our door step. He takes down her car information and and her physical details. I can barely get through the conversation without crying. He promises to go straight back to the station and get her information into the central database if anyone runs across her car.
Where is she? This is the same girl who calls me 4 times a day at work. The same girl who remembers to bring home little gifts for me when she sees something I might like. We talk about everything. I know about every boy she has dated, have heard about every first kiss. This is so out of character that my mind is racing. I know she is 17 and graduates in a few short months. I know she is on her way to being an adult and that all teenagers have moments of impulsive decision making.
Frankly if over the years she had done anything outrageous I would not be so worried, but she never has. She has had a few drinks and told me the next day, she smokes occasionally and again I’ve known. So where on Earth has my teenager disappeared to? I am crying and nervous and feel like my entire world is crashing from it’s orbit.
I am on the phone with emergency room I cannot take it anymore. At this point every emotion you can experience has run through my head at least twice. Just as I hang up the phone, my husbands cell phone rings. She claims her phone was dying so she turned it off. When she turned it back on and noticed all the calls and messages she called us right away. My heart suddenly goes from the pit of my stomach to where it belongs.
I am thrilled, relieved, ecstatic and so pissed off. Her excuse was that she thought we where sleeping and would not notice. She went to a girlfriends house after work and was hanging out with her. Time speeds up as we wait for her to make her way home. The police have to make an appearance once more to make sure that she is indeed safe and to hopefully instill how irresponsible her actions tonight were. She arrives home with a police officer right behind her. He speaks to her for a minute and through her tears she explains where she was.
After what felt like the longest night of our lives, my husband and I retire for bed. For now her house keys are gone, she will be required to give us a list of all her friend’s phone numbers and will have to buy a quick charger for her phone with her own money. As I drift off it hits me that while our experience was a false alarm, parents all around the country tonight have or are experiencing the very same roller coaster ride we where just on. It gives me a new perspective on just how much my kids mean to me and how horrible it must be to not know what has happened to your child.