A few weeks ago, I got on a plane and left town for five days. I’d planned this trip for months, and thought I had all my bases covered to keep things running smoothly while I was gone. I stocked the fridge, laid out school clothes, and arranged transportation to and from school for my kids. My husband may suck at cooking, but he’s a great daddy, so I wasn’t too worried about survival. I provided him with very little direction, because let’s be real, if the house was still standing and the kids were alive when I returned, I’d be happy.
So, off I went.
The first text came shortly after I left the house that morning.
“Babe, the school is locked. How do we get in?”
Seriously? Welcome to 2018, we lock schools now, because weapon-wielding psychopaths.
“This isn’t a new thing, honey. Ring the buzzer and they will let you in through the office.”
I quickly texted him back, maybe rolled my eyes, and popped my phone back in my purse hoping this wasn’t a sign of things to come.
Because she either thought my husband was going to burn the house down, or she loves him more than she loves me, my mom offered to keep the kids overnight for a few days while I was gone. I’m guessing she loves him more, because he’s left town plenty of times and no one ever offered to make me dinner or take the kids off my hands. But, I digress.
The kids were with my mom when I got the second phone call. My mom informed me that she thought they were “coming down with something.” Because, of course they were.
“Take them back to their dad. I’m having margaritas and chips and salsa three states away right now.” Or at least that’s what I wanted to say. But I didn’t, because (1) I’m not an asshole mom, and (2) I felt terrible that my kids were possibly sick and I wasn’t there. (Mom guilt is a real thing, friends.)
My mom assured me that it was probably just a cold, and promised to call or text if anything changed. But, of course, that didn’t stop me from spending 12 hours worrying about them.
The next morning, I got another call from my mom, “Hi, I’m at the grade school, but Claire says she feels like she is going to throw up.”
WTF, people? I’ve been gone 24 hours!
My six-year-old is what some might call dramatic AF, so it was hard to know if she was actually sick or just faking, so she could stay home with Grandma and eat her molecular weight in sugar. But I wasn’t there to look her in the eye and perform the full-on bullshit assessment, so I let her play hooky with Grandma, because whatever.
“If she’s really sick, I’ll eat my boot,” I said as I hung up the phone.
I’m glad no one was there to hold me to that, because 15 minutes later my mom called back to tell me Claire puked in her backseat. I offered to come home, because my mom will now randomly smell barf for the life of that vehicle, and it felt like the right thing to do. She, again, assured me that everything was fine, and they were heading back home to take a bath. The rest of the day was filled with picture messages of my kid acting completely normal while she danced around eating Fruit by the Foot. That seemed like a risky move to me, but it’s not my carpet. My husband got the kids that afternoon, and I waited for the next call, because at this point, I knew it was coming.
This time it wasn’t a call, but a picture message of a giant brush fire. I was only joking when I said don’t burn the house down, but now I had some legitimate concerns. When I requested additional information, my husband said he would have to call me back, because my four-year-old just jumped in the creek…fully clothed…in 40 degree weather.
For any dads reading this, maybe just say something like, “Hey, I’ll call you right back.” Maybe leave out the part about any potential drownings.
What felt like an eternity later, my husband called back to tell me the creek was nearly empty at the time and everyone was alive.
But you can imagine my surprise when I returned home the next day to find the house still standing. Dishes were stacked to epic heights, and I will never again be caught up on laundry, but everyone survived. And really, that was my only request when I left the house the week before, so I guess I got exactly what I asked for.