This morning started like almost every other morning in our sometimes too well-ordered and boring little world. (I will never think that again.) I was up fairly early, let the dog out, made coffee, read my devotions and bible, and brought the paper in. It was Wednesday, which meant Kalisha had to volunteer at the neighborhood food pantry from 8:45 - 10:45.
I clean a house every 2 weeks on Thursday mornings, but because tomorrow is the 4th and a holiday, I had agreed to come on Wednesday. I knew she was concerned about me being there to pick her up at 10:45. I assured her I would be done in time and if I was late, it would only be a few minutes.
She came down the stairs. The first words out of her mouth were, "I'm soooo tired, I don't want to go today."
"I know. I'm tired too but we both have to go."
"I really don't want to. Can I please stay home?"
"No, I'm done discussing it. You know the consequences."
(In case you don't know, if Kalisha fails to keep a commitment, she loses her phone and her computer for 24 hours. Pure torture for her.)
"I'm not going."
I proceeded to get ready. She usually thinks about it for a bit and then changes her mind. Not today.
Before I left, I asked for her phone, which she handed over, and I unplugged her laptop and hid them both. I don't know why I hide them. She would never consider going to look for them.
I arrived home at 11:00. Kalisha wasn't downstairs, but I assumed she was just ticked off and decided to stay in bed. I called her to come down for lunch but got no answer.
Suddenly, my heart was racing. I checked the closet where she keeps her shoes...gone. Her purse was still there but no shoes. I checked...she had not taken her bus pass and she didn't have any money or her debit card. I told myself she must have taken a walk. Okay, that was cool.
Now it was 12:00. Kalisha never walks that long, ever. AND, since I had her phone, I also could not call her. I was beginning to panic. I know she is 29 and she is allowed to get on the bus and go almost anywhere she wants, but I always have the lifeline of the phone.
I started imagining all kinds of scenarios because of things that have happened in the past. I got in the car and drove around the park, thinking she had walked there and sat on a bench for a while. No luck. I drove around several more blocks, all the while praying she hadn't gotten in a car with someone.
As I came around the corner by our house, she was coming across the street, smiling and waving at me. Do you remember when your child was very young and they did something frightening when they knew better and scared you to death? First, you hugged them and cried because they were safe and then you wanted to spank them for disobeying? Well, that's sort of how I felt. First, I thanked God she was safe, then I asked her where the heck she had been.
She said she thought about it after I left, decided she was wrong, took a shower, got dressed and walked to the food bank. When she was done she had to walk all the way back home. It was all very logical to her.
She apologized over and over and said she was sorry. It never occurred to her that I might be worried. After all, she knew where she was...right where she was supposed to be, at the food bank.
I consulted with her Behavioral Consultant about what I should do as far as consequences. We decided there would be no consequence this time and we discussed leaving a note the next time. She got her phone and laptop back because she did keep her commitment.
I don't need to know where she is every minute of every day. I just need to know where she's going and when I can expect her back. When she doesn't have her phone with her, she is very vulnerable, even though she has made huge strides in being able to say, 'No.'
I don't think I will ever get over that panicked feeling when something like this happens.