I don't see how people with kids can travel for a living - and don't even get me started on those who are deployed with the military. If I let myself, I would cry every day just for them, for the days - weeks - months they have to be without their children and the children who are without their parents.
My kids were in Denver for eleven days. I was ok for the first few days, feeling lonely but with mild bursts of selfish anxiety...I need them HERE... Day seven marked my breaking point. It was the second day of my two days off, so I had been in the giant house with nothing to do but wallow in my self-induced lonely misery and cry. All day. I cried because the house was too quiet; I cried because their bedrooms were hollow; I cried because I wanted to hold them and squeeze them until they told me they couldn't breathe; I cried because it hurt to be apart from them; I cried because in the back of my mind crept that nasty, ugly, sticky fear that something would happen and they would never be back.
The day we met to exchange the kids, I started out slow because I had become sleepy and wasn't in the mood to catapult myself into a ditch. So I pulled over at a rest area and slept for about twenty minutes. As I pulled in Amanda texted me and I never heard back from them for the remaining three and a half hours of my trip.
There's something people don't tell you about when you have kids - I don't think the idea could be explained if someone tried. That's the notion that emotion will trump logic at any given moment when it comes to your kids. All it takes is a taste of your vulnerability to breathe life into fear and once that fear comes alive you become unable to process anything separate from what that fear perpetuates.
As I neared Casper I still hadn't heard from Dave. Just a week and a half before, when we were making the exact same trip at the same time, there were no issues. Connectivity wasn't a problem. Fear found its way in and I was near tears as I headed towards our meeting place. No answers to my calls, no replies to my texts. Knowing I had taken extra long I convinced myself that it would be ok because they would already be there waiting. Everything would be ok once I saw them at Burger King. Everything would be ok once I saw them at Burger King. Everything would be ok once I saw them at Burger King. Over and over and over. That's what I had to do to keep from losing it all together.
When I pulled into the parking lot and saw they weren't there, my mind took me places it had no business going. They should have been there long before me; he should be answering my phone. That was all I could process. Fucking fear. I called my mom who called my brother, who found out that one accident had been reported about a half hour prior, but no Dave Bieske was involved. As I tried to mutter to him could he please find out if anything happened in Colorado, they pulled into the parking lot.
Tears and more tears. I had never felt such a feeling of relief, of wanting to scream at that fucking fear for allowing me to go into the dark. I knew better, but I had been instantly consumed with those thoughts of looking into their bedrooms and thinking what if something happens and they don't come back.
I opened the door to the truck and hugged Amanda, probably nearly suffocating her. The icy wind was blowing against my backside but I didn't even notice. I let go of Amanda and reached for Brandon, snot pouring down my nose. They were the ones who had reported that accident and were delayed as police and paramedics arrived at the scene. He tried to text me but had no service on the phone he bought a few days ago. Fucking fear.
As rational as I think I am on a normal basis, I never expected myself to be so overcome with fear like I was that day. I tried to be rational; I tried to be logical. Intellectual FAIL. I'm hoping that somehow I will learn to hold off on that vulnerability and not allow that fear to slip in like it did because I'm pretty sure I can't handle another walk in the dark.