My grown children worry about me. Isn’t that sweet?
For years I worried about the thousands of possible disasters and catastrophes that could hurt, maim, or destroy them. I believe my children thought they were impervious to harm. Burns, falls, poison, electric shock, traffic fatalities–all these were on my worry watchlist. And then came the teen years–years I’ve almost succeeded in wiping from my memory. If they missed curfew, I just knew they must be lying in a ditch somewhere, unable to get to a phone. Should I call the police? Hospitals? Get a ransom together? Oh my.
You’ll be pleased to know that all my children made it through the minefield of possible tragedies of life. They didn’t escape them all, but they did survive, grow up, and are now taking care of themselves. Whew! (wiping the sweat off my brow.)
When I decided to retire, one of my daughters invited me to live with her. I moved lock, stock, and barrel into her lovely old home, and began my life of ease. It’s been a blessing to me that my thoughtful daughter lets me know where she is and when she’ll be home so I don’t worry anymore. It’s beginning to dawn on me, however, that she does all that because she’s worried about me. I now believe that her check-ins are geared more to her making sure I can text back; in other words, to ascertain that house is still standing, and so am I.
CASE IN POINT
Recently, my daughter went away on a three-day weekend trip and left her two dogs, Sonny and Thor with me and Max, my mixed-up Maltese. I affectionately call them the three caballeros. Whell… after feeding Sonny and Thor, I let them out the back door as usual, automatically locking it behind them, as usual. I then fed Max, who prefers to dine alone. While Max was thus occupied, I heard Sonny and Thor barking. Together, they sound like a fog horn and a donkey joining forces to repel all invaders. I opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch. Without thinking, which can be said of many a thing I do of late, I closed the door behind me, which immediately locked. Oops.
I realized instantly what I’d done. However, sure that the spare key was in place, I remained calm and attended to the task of quieting the dogs. Tired from all that barking, they were more than ready to go in, so I explained to them (yes, I did), that we had a minor setback. With complete confidence, I went to retrieve the key.
You’re getting ahead of me, I suspect.
Exactly. The key was not where it was supposed to be. I looked more closely, feeling the first niggle of disbelief, which was followed by that familiar sinking feeling. It occurred to me that the key could be in my jacket pocket INSIDE the house. Had I returned it to its hiding place after that last time, I wondered, or had I forgotten? Oh no.
I then tried to pick both front and back door locks. After several failed attempts, I vowed to sign up for a lock picking course as soon as I got back in the house. I checked for other ways in but discovered both to my chagrin (and, for another time, relief) that it would be very hard to break into this solid structure.
I assessed my situation. It was now about five o’clock in the afternoon of a sunny spring day, warm with a light breeze. My daughter was due home that evening; she had sent me a text that morning that she had started for home, but might stop here and there on the way. It would be a leisurely drive. I estimated her arrival time might be around 11 p.m. Six more hours. Humph. It would be cooler and dark by eleven, but not freezing. I could sit on the screened in front porch on a patio chair, surrounded by two big dogs, and be quite cozy. Sonny and Thor couldn’t understand, as the breeze stiffened, why we weren’t just going in where it was warm. Meanwhile, Max was watching me through the big window, looking puzzled. He scratched at the door to get out. I would have given him a lifetime supply of bones if he could have opened any aperture at all to let us in. After a while he went to his room to take a nap. The two caballeros and I settled in for a long wait.
THE OTHER SHOE
Little did I know that my daughter had texted me right around the time I discovered the key was missing. My cell phone was inside the locked house. When she received no answering message from me, she called the house phone. Again, inside the house. I didn’t even hear it ring. She tells me she began to worry. She checked with the family, but no one had any news. She became more concerned, speeding home, making no unnecessary stops, all the while envisioning every disaster known to man, up to and including, finding my cold, dead body! It must have been horrible for her.
PAYBACK DOTH SUCK
My daughter turned up at around 8:30, her worry like a roaring tiger in her gut. As she drove up and saw me relaxing (her less than accurate view of things) on the porch, she felt foolish for worrying, and then a little angry that I had put her through it all. How the tables had turned!
On the other hand, I regarded her as my ticket to INSIDE, the closest thing to heaven there was at that moment!
In the end, we all had a good chuckle. Max finally got to go out while Sonny and Thor trampled each other to get in. Turned out the missing key had been pocketed by an authorized party who had not returned it promptly. I say this now in strictest confidence; it has since been replaced. I haven’t locked myself out since. No further slip-ups on that front, although there was that slightly burnt frying pan incident…To be fair, after I put the burner on, I became distracted when my glasses broke and I tried to fix them with crazy glue. The pan survived, but I’ll need new frames.
In the meantime, I keep the children guessing; they never know what will happen tomorrow…