Friday, September 14, 2007

The joys of non-custodial parenting

Last evening I had to be out for a few hours. Ex-Husband (custodial parent, lives two hours away) called my house around 5:30pm, was told by Husbandly One that I was out for a few hours, and left the following message; "Ask Irma to call my cell."

I got home at 8pm. I called the cell. Straight to voicemail. I called the house number, no answer. I didn't worry about it at the time, but as the evening turned to night, I began to get uptight. Where were they? Why wasn't anyone answering? I believe that the message I left at 10 pm was, "Ok, I can't get ahold of you, which freaks me out and makes me think you have turned off your cell because you're in a hospital. CALL ME."

No call ever came. My last, now frantic message was at 1:30am. By that time I had imagined (in graphic detail) there had been a car accident. Or my son had tripped on the stairs and broken his leg. Or his arm was being surgically amputated after a bizarre accident.

This is not a joke, and not an exaggeration. I literally lay in bed last night, trying to make myself glad that, although Son's arm was probably gone, at least he still had his life.

This morning when I got to work, I finally managed to get ahold of Ex-Husband. Long story short, there is NOTHING wrong. Ex-Husband found out very late Wednesday night that he had to travel to the U.S. immediately to investigate a fatal accident. Had to leave so suddenly that he got Son out of bed and immediately left for the States. He called me yesterday afternoon just to tell me where they were. And the whole "Tell her to call my cell" ?? The reason he wasn't answering was because he was, in fact, in a hospital, taking statements. Not watching our son's arm being removed, just taking statements.

As he told me this over long distance this morning, I fell apart in ways I had never experienced before. I sat in my office, door open, with tears of thankfulness and left-over fear running down my face, too upset to even speak to my son directly. I sobbed to Ex-Husband, "WHY couldn't you have included the fact that you were away from home in the 'get her to call me' message? I wouldn't have worried like this..."

He didn't mean to scare me, he just didn't think. I have never felt so powerless and helpless than I did in those hours when I couldn't find my child, and didn't know what to do about it.

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