Monday, March 11, 2013

He Was Late

“He’s late. He’s never been this late before. What if he’s been kidnapped?” I fretted as I paced the living room.

“He’s fine,” Tom replied from the computer. He didn’t even seem alarmed that his son and heir could be MISSING.

“He’s usually home by now,” I insisted, twisting my fingers nervously. I kept glancing out the window for him. He walks home because the school isn’t far away. We also live on base so it’s safer. If we lived off base, I’m not sure if he’d be walking by himself. The world has gotten insane.

“Maybe he’s talking with friends,” Tom suggested as he blasted bad guys on his video game.

“Tommy doesn’t talk to people,” I explained. It’s true. He’s quiet at school. Kids will ask me, “Why doesn’t Tommy like to talk?” It’s because he struggles with being social. He’s worried people will laugh at him. He’ll say a few words to some girls, because girls are nicer to him, but his mouth stays clamped shut when he’s around the boys.

“Maybe he started. He’s getting older,” Tom said. “Dammit!” he shouted and for a second I thought he finally computed the fact that his son was MISSING. But no, he was just upset that he died in the game.

“If he’s not back in ten minutes, I’m going to that school and pulling a Shirley MacClaine from Terms of Endearment,” I warned.

“Would you calm down?” Tom suggested, starting a new game.

I settled on the couch and started chewing my fingernails. Then I got back up and peered out the window. No Tommy. I sat back down. Chewed on my fingernails some more. Stood back up.

I was really freaking our cat out. He shot me a dirty look that clearly said, “Stay still. Damn.”

“What if some bullies got a hold of him?” I said.

“Amber,” Tom answered with a sigh.

“Bullies are running rampant these days. Parents don’t want to admit they have a bully so the situation is rarely fixed. Mark my words, if a bully is messing with Tommy I will take the kid by the ear and drag him home.”


Tom wasn’t even paying attention to me at that point.

WHERE WAS MY SON THOUGH? I sort of wanted to shout it like Mel Gibson did in that one movie.

I chewed my lower lip to the point where I tasted blood. That was it, I was going to the school. I’d demand to know—

Then I spotted Tommy walking down the sidewalk, all casual like.

Oh no, what if he got detention? He’s never had detention before. He’s always appalled when kids don’t listen to the teacher. What if he finally snapped and told the teacher that math was awful and that he refused to do it anymore?

I opened the front door and practically ran over to him.

“Huh?” he said, surprised. In his hands he grasped some paper.

“What happened? Are you okay?” I searched him over for bruises.

“Yes.” He stared at me like I was insane and held up the papers. “I stayed for the track meeting. Remember I said I wanted to do track?”

Oh. Right. He had said that. Tommy hates other sports. I tried to sign him up for t-ball and he had meltdown after meltdown. He couldn’t even hit the ball on the stand. He’d watch other kids effortlessly hit the ball and he would struggle again and again.

He doesn’t like football. That’s why he doesn’t get along with a lot of boys. Most love football and want to talk about it. Tommy’s eyes glaze over.

So when he had mentioned track, I wasn’t sure if he was really going to do it. Some people suggest that I make him join groups but that doesn’t work for Tommy.

The papers were permission slips to join the track team. And I had to sign something in case he got a concussion. ?!

“And I was running,” I said in a Forrest Gump impression as I signed the papers.

“What?” Tommy raised an eyebrow at me.

“Nothing. It’s from a movie. You’ll watch it someday. You’ll like it. If someone ever shouts at you ‘Run, Tommy, Run’ it’s from that movie,” I explained.

“There’s a character named Tommy in that movie?” Tommy wanted to know.

“No. His name is Forrest.”

“I’m confused.”

“Nevermind then. But Tommy, this is great. You want to run.”

“You can also throw stuff and do hurdles,” Tommy said. “I think I just want to do the mile.”

When they have to run the mile in gym, he’s one of the only kids who runs the whole time. I did the same as a kid. I was a pretty good runner. My best time was 658 or something like that. Maybe I should have joined the track team. But I wasn’t much of a social person either. I did do cross country in high school but I hated being on a team. I wanted to run for myself.

I hope Tommy has fun in track. I’m very proud that he was responsible enough to go to the meeting. I didn’t even have to remind him. Mainly because I didn’t know about it.


It means he’s growing up.


  1. This is why i have to write everything down. I dont remember stuff. Hope he does great

  2. dude, I was ready to go look for your son myself if this story didn't have a happy ending! And what is up with husbands?

  3. I nearly scrolled down to make sure there was a happy ending, but I was pretty sure there would be.


  4. Awww! Yay Tommy! I would have been freaking out too,you are not alone in that!

    I am really proud of Tommy though, that was so great of him!

  5. Time when your kids are late seems to go three times slower than regular time! And yeah for Tommy for trying track! I tend to not run unless someone is chasing me. :)

  6. YAY for him! And I would have been pacing the floors when mine was late too.

  7. I laughed out loud at the "And I was running" Forrest Gump impression. Everyone in my house looked up and glared at me for interrupting their precious Gator Boys on TV. I tried to explain but they didn't get it. It's not everyday a Gump impression is appropriate so I totally would have done it too. Sieze the opportunity!

  8. You sound just like me. I freak out if either of mine are 5 minutes late.

    Good for Tommy!

  9. Tommy sounds like the girl. She is quiet! And I had this same experience a couple months ago when she was trying out for dance. I totally forgot and worried.

  10. My rational side was thinking, relax! he's fine! But my mom side would've been freaking out too. I'm glad he's doing track!

  11. This reminds me of when my children were teenagers and I would wait up until they got home to make sure they were safe and sound. All the horrible scenario's would run through my head if they didn't get home by the curfew we set. I would be scared one minute, mad the next and then so relieved to see them that I couldn't be angry anymore. Meanwhile my husband would be in bed snoring away, oblivious. He said it was because he knew I was up waiting up which has some truth to it but he is also more chill than me.

  12. Oh and glad your son is in Track..awesome sport!

  13. I would have been freaking out too if my kid who is normally on time was late! That's great he decided to join track! Hope he enjoys it.

  14. That is why I drive mine to and from even though we live with in walking distance. Of course it is still to chilly to be walking in the morning. or I am lazy! I have done just like you with a couple of my children just walking home from the neighbors houses. It is a crazy world we are raising children in.

  15. That would have been terrifying and I would have been much more angry at my husband for not worrying with me.


  16. Here's ironic... I totally suggested my 10 year old do track. He has some behavior issues and I always worry that he will have a complete meltdown. I suggested track for him. Than his Jr High brother voluntarily signed up last week!

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