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Snyder column: I knew he was fine … really

By Laura Snyder
I was riding around on my lawn tractor, trying out the handy-dandy dethatching attachment, and minding my own business when my daughter told me my cell phone was ringing.
Usually that means that one of my older sons needs money, has a question about taxes, or has an embarrassing rash. These are big strapping men, with brains to spare, but getting a 1099 in the mail, or seeing something swell that isn’t supposed to, will put them into a major tailspin. That’s where I come in. The All-Powerful, Ever-Knowing…Mom. The go-to person for all mysterious things.
Well, dethatching will have to wait. My boys need me. Secretly pleased that they might still need me once in a while, I checked my cell phone only to see that neither of them needed me after all. The Caller ID listed a number that was vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place it right away. I pushed the “OK” button and called the number back.
It was my 25-year-old son’s girlfriend. She was five hours away and convinced that something awful had happened to my son because she hadn’t been able to reach him for 24 hours. “It’s just not like him,” she said.
Those five words are all a mother needs to put her over the edge. I told her not to worry, that he was probably fine and then I hung up and promptly started worrying. “It’s just not like him” kept bouncing around my head and I decided that he was probably fine, but I would never forgive myself if he was sitting in an emergency room listed as John Doe and needed a blood transfusion from a close relative. Possibly me.
Dethatching be damned! I’m coming, son! I convinced my husband that we needed to drive an hour and a half to see if our son’s car was in front of his apartment. We dropped everything and started driving.
He’s fine, I kept telling myself. He’s just been sleeping for the last 24 hours. No. Nobody could sleep that long. But he’s fine.
He was probably in the shower when she called…For 24 hours? I don’t think so. But he’s fine.
He could’ve gone to a friend’s house for the night. No way. He doesn’t even like spending the night at our house, much less someone else’s. But he’s fine.
For an hour and half I told myself to stay calm, that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. But for every reasonable explanation there were at least five scenarios that were straight out of a nightmare.
He’s in a ditch, trapped in his car which is not visible from the highway. Wolves are circling because he has a week-old Quarter Pounder in the back seat.
Maybe he was one of those rare people that have a heart attack in their twenties. I could picture him standing on his third story balcony when it happened. He’s probably been hanging on the balcony by his belt loop since last night.
He fell down a flight of stairs, broke his legs… and his ankles… and can’t reach the phone. Even if he could, he broke both wrists, too, and can only dial with his nose, which is too big for the tiny buttons.
Finally, we arrive. His car is there. Oh no. It must’ve been the heart attack! I sprinted up three flights of stairs (which is something I didn’t know I could still do) and pounded on his door.
My son answered in his bathrobe looking tired and annoyed. My mothering eye looked him over from head to foot. No broken bones. Color is good, except for the 5 o’clock shadow. He appeared to be standing upright with very little help from the door jam.
“What are you doing here?” he asked grumpily, obviously annoyed to be bothered by his mother when he didn’t need money, answers about taxes, and there was not a single dermatological incident on his body.
I could’ve said, “I’m here to save your miserable life, you ungrateful wretch.”
Just in time, however, I realized how insane that would’ve sounded being that he was, in fact, hale and hearty, and instead I found myself defending my actions, “It’s not my fault this time! Call your girlfriend. She’s worried about you.”
In case you’re wondering, he accidentally had his cell phone on vibrate and only just realized that there were 26 missed calls.
See? I knew he was fine.
– – –
You can reach Laura Snyder at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com or visit her Web site www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her book.

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