Let me recap the biggest scare I’ve had in my life over the past few years. It took place a little over two years ago when Mrs. Mac was working as a student teacher. It was easily the most panicked I’ve ever been.
Mrs. Mac was usually home about a half an hour after the kids got off the bus. They were accustomed to her not being there when they first got home but they expected to see her shortly after. On this day, I got a call from my oldest (who was 12 at the time) at work a little before five wondering when Mom was going to be home. It threw me off a bit so I told him to hang tight, she should be home soon.
As soon as I hung up with him I tried to give her a call on her cell phone but I went straight to voice mail. For those of you who know Mrs. Mac you would realize this isn’t that abnormal. She doesn’t always have her phone with her and if she does, it’s not uncommon for her to have little or no battery power. I hopped in the car at five and started my commute home. It was a wet and dark winter evening commute, so I knew in advance the ride was not going to be a short one. I gave a call to the house just to let the kids know I was on my way and to give me a call if they needed me.
Ten minutes into the ride I got a call from my oldest saying the Phoenixville police had just called. I asked him what they said and he simple said the were looking for Mr. Mac. When my oldest said that I wasn’t home, they told him they would try back in a couple more minutes. He never took down a message so I didn’t have a name or phone number to call back; the caller ID on the house phone just said “private”. I could tell that he was nervous on the other end of the phone and suddenly my anxiety level jumped.
Why would the Phoenixville police be calling?
Phoenixville wasn’t on Mrs. Mac’s normal route home but suddenly the only thoughts that filled my mind were terrible ones.
I hung up with my oldest and called my in laws in hopes that they had heard something. I was disappointed to find out my in laws also didn’t have any news on where or what there daughter might be up to. I filled them in about the call from the police and I asked them what they thought about it. My father in law decided he was going to make a couple of phone calls and that he would get back to me.
My next phone call was to my Mom to see if she could come over to the house. I’m guessing she noticed the heightened anxiety in my voice and asked me what was going on. After giving her a quick recap I asked her if she could come over to hang with the kids because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do once I got home. She said she would head right over and pick up some dinner for them so I wouldn’t have to worry about them once I got home.
After hanging up with my Mom, I called the Phoenixville hospital to see if they had any information on my wife. I gave them her name and they assured me that nobody under that name had been admitted. They also told me there weren’t any unidentified people who had been recently admitted to the ER. Every patient they had was accounted for. I tried calling the Phoenixville Police but I was unable to get an officer on the phone.
At this point the only thing going through my mind was that Mrs. Mac had been in a terrible accident and I couldn’t get any positive thoughts into my mind. I had thoughts of suddenly being a single parent and tears started to fill my eyes. This wasn’t the way things were supposed to be.
I didn’t know what the next step should be, I just knew I had to get home. As soon as I walked in the house I could see that everyone in the house was very uptight, no doubt fueled by my lead.
My father in law called to say he didn’t have any further news. He had hopped in his car and traveled all the routes from our house to Mrs. Mac’s school and he hadn’t seen any signs of an accident along the road. I could tell that he was also very nervous.
While we were on the house phone discussing what our next move should be, my cell phone rang. I told him I was going to grab it but I asked him to hold the line. It was Mrs. Mac.
As soon as I heard her voice my eyes filled with tears. I found myself unable to talk because I was overcome by emotion. My mom was watching and wasn’t sure what to make of the call as I sat there with tears streaming down my face and no sound coming from my open mouth. I had Mrs. Mac on one line wondering why I wasn’t speaking to her, I had my father in law on the other line waiting desperately for my next piece of news, and my Mom watching trying to get a grasp on what was happening.
It took all I had to mouth to my mom that it was Mrs. Mac and that she was OK. My mom hopped on the line with my father in law to relay that same message.
What a terrible thirty minute period of time.
It turned out Mrs. Mac had a meeting (which she had forgotten to tell me or the kids about) that ran a lot longer than expected. She had left her cell phone in her car so she had no clue that people were looking for her. She called home as soon as she got in the car because she noticed she had a bunch of missed calls: from home, her husband, her parents, and her mother in law. She assumed something was up but she didn’t have a clue what it could be. Imagine her surprise once everyone filled her in that she was the topic of discussion.
We laugh about it now, but it wasn’t so funny as it was all going down.
You may be wondering about the call from the Phoenixville police that escalated the whole situation?
The ended up calling back a little later that night. It wasn’t the police themselves, but it was a fund raising organization calling on their behalf. Image the venom I spewed towards them when I took that call. Afterwards I did feel a little for that telemarketer who couldn’t possibly have know the grief they caused us.