Friday, February 11, 2011


I'm an emotional eater.

I just got up from a chair I'd been sitting in since 6:00. The reason I got up from the chair? To get waffles.

My darling daughters were lost (to me) for a while this afternoon. They were completely unaware that they were lost, being in the know about their whereabouts the entire time, but me? No, I had no clue.

Well, I did have a clue. I knew they were at Baylor for the History Fair Regionals. I even had lunch with them. And the last thing I said before we parted?

"Be sure to call me or text me when you're done so I'll know where to pick you up. I can meet you at my office or I can pick you up. Just be sure to call me and let me know where. You can call my cell phone, and if I don't pick up, call my office phone. Just let me know where to pick you up."

And then 5:00 came and I had no idea where they are. They had been at the museum, this much I knew. I suspected that's not where they were; I suspected they had gone to the place of origin: the SUB, which is also where we had lunch,which is also the building they were in the entirety of the day. Save the visit to the museum (with a chaperone). So I went to the SUB.

But the SUB was empty. 5:00 on a Friday afternoon empty.

That was the moment I panicked.

I'd been fighting uneasiness since 4:00, the time I had first reasonably expected a call or text. But surely I'd get one around 4:15. Maybe they'd gotten busy or distracted and forgot to call. But surely by 4:30. I'd have a call by 4:30. Could they be by themselves somewhere? I couldn't imagine the chaperones would have left the museum without them. I'd probably hear something by 4:45. Surely by 4:45. Were they waiting for me to pick them up at the museum? Wouldn't they think to call if that were the case? Could they call from the museum? What if they needed to use a pay phone? I don't think they've ever seen a pay phone. Do they even make pay phones anymore? Well definitely by 5:00. By 5:00 I'd have heard from them. They know I get off work at 5:00 and they'd call to let me know where they were. Where to pick them up. But even if they make pay phones, I don't ever think I taught them how to use a pay phone. I knew how to use a pay phone. In my day, that's how you called your mom to let her know which end of the mall to pick you up at.

After all, you had to get home somehow.

And moreover, there are two of them. If one forgot, surely the other would remember. Surely at least one of my brilliant, AP students would have the foresight to think about transportation, or the hindsight to remember the many times we'd gone over the plan. The plan where they would contact me in some way.

But when I got to the SUB at 5:15, still with no contact, and I found not a soul in sight. . .

I almost lost in there in the grand rotunda. A ball of emotion soup, frozen at the balcony of the third floor.

I had texted a friend of Chloe's around 4:30--who at that time had informed me she didn't know where Chloe was--but she (the friend) was at the award area. So I texted again: where is this mysterious award area?

Across the street from the SUB.

And so I marched--make no mistake, by this time I was marching--across the street. And as I marched, the anger appeared. I had been uneasy. I had been afraid. I had been confused and irritated. But now I was getting angry.

And there they sat, amidst a sea of children, oblivious.

When asked later what they had been thinking, why they had not called, the answer was something along the lines of "I don't know. I forgot." There was even an "I lost track of time" from the one with a watch on her left hand. "But how did you think you were going to get home?" we asked.

"I. . . don't know."

There they sat, one right next to a friend with a phone--said friend, even, who had informed me of their whereabouts--and two rows away from adult friends of ours (friends that I did not know were there).

Safe, to be sure. And completely oblivious.

There was some yelling involved when we got in the car. Yelling and tears as I expressed how afraid I had been. As I asked for an explanation as to why the explicit instructions--the oft-repeated, explicit instructions--had not been followed. And, after all, how in the world did you think you were going to get home? Forget the worry of your ever-loving mother. Were you planning on walking?

The entire thing was just emotionally draining. I still cannot grasp how both of them--BOTH OF THEM--could have overlooked this key action. It still flummoxes me. So I sat catatonic in the chair this evening, watching a week's worth of Jeopardy and a 20/20 special.

And then I ate waffles, and they were yummy, and this is why I will never be skinny.

It's my children's fault.


Chris said...

Reminds me of several times when we lived on Keaton when I had no idea where you were! And I think I remember saying to you, "Wait until your kids do this to YOU - then you'll understand why I was worried!!"

Jennie Quillen said...

Mom--LOL! I was just thinking the SAME thing! I can hear you saying, "Just wait 'til you have kids!"
Aww, poor Amy! That is such a horrible feeling. Glad the girls were OK though!

Amy said...

I know. The entire time I was writing the post, I knew--I KNEW--mom was going to bring up those time in high school when I forgot to call. But, see, in my defense (that's always a great way to start a sentence), I always had a ride! I knew how I was going to get home! Had I not had a ride, I may have thought, "Oh, gee, I need a ride home. Oops! Forgot to call mom!" See, they didn't do that. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.