Gonna be late, Mom–car on fire.

My husband and I were dozing in bed with our phones on the nightstands, only half-asleep until our high school sons returned home safely.  It’s common (and expected!) practice in our home to keep in touch by texting: they send a heads-up before they leave for home, we appreciate the respect, and they get to go out again in the future.  This particular night one son was returning from a closing shift at work, the other from an out-of-town baseball game.

Sophomore Son sends his message: Heading home.

Me The Mom replies: See you soon!  Watch out for deer.

Said son arrives home, checks in with us face-to-face, goes to bed, and the house settles again into semi-slumber.

Senior Son sends his message: Stopped at farm down the road. Car on fire.

Me The Mom flies out of bed, instantly awake and exclaiming “WHAT?!?”

Hero Hubby is now also awake, asking me what’s going on.  I read the text aloud to him in a daze, then rush upstairs out of our basement bedroom for better cell phone reception. At the top of the stairs I place the call to Senior Son.

Voicemail is not a reassuring option in these circumstances.  Just saying.

Hero Hubby arrives calmly upstairs, fully dressed. “Any more info?” he smoothly asks as he reaches for the truck keys on his way out the door.

“No!” I reply as I frantically stab out a text: Just called. Can’t get through. Call asap.

“Well, at least we know where he’s at.  I’ll go take a look,” Hero Hubby says as the door gently sighs shut behind him. I continue pounding out messages:

Me The Mom: Call.  Are you okay?  Call now.

No response.  To be fair, I gave it a very long wait of an eternal seven seconds.  All right, probably five. At the most.

Me The Mom: Call. Now. Dad is on his way. Are you okay??  Call.

I was working on the next steadily intensifying message when Senior Son’s call came through. Sweet relief at an actual voice, and God bless technology.

It turns out his car wasn’t on fire at all: however, a van that had hit a deer head-on and then tried to continue driving, was.  (No one was hurt.  Well…no people were hurt….) A roadblock had been set up by the police, fire trucks, and ambulance, and no one was getting through.  Our son was simply trying to let us know that he was going to be later than anticipated, and he didn’t want us to worry.

Not worry, with that message?!?

To be fair, his first words upon coming through the door back home were, “I am so sorry!  I reread the text and can totally see how you thought it could be me!  But, um, Mom, if my car was on fire…don’t you think I would have called instead of texted?!?”

All bets are off with teenagers.  And mothers of such.

image from Google Images, creative commons
What I had in my Mama head…which actually is very close to what happened.