I was in San Francisco earlier this week for work- for less than 24 hours. I was actually supposed to come home late Friday night but due to certain circumstances, I ended up catching the first available flight back and came home on Wednesday night.
Very early Wednesday morning I woke up sweating, crying and in a panic. It was about 3:30 AM. It has been a long time since I had a nightmare like that; one that shook me awake and seemed so real. For hours I just laid there with every cell in my body telling me to GET HOME and every part of my brain trying to convince myself that I was just being crazy.
My plane was coming in for a landing and at the last minute the pilot aborted the landing and back up we went. My palms started to sweat and I looked around at the other passengers and saw their concerned faces, their hushed whispers. I shifted in my seat and looked out the window as our plane once again began to descend. I watched as our plane came in lower and lower and as I scanned the ground I noticed there didn't seem to be an airport, or a runway, in sight. "We are heading toward the highway. I think we are going to land on that highway!" I heard a passenger behind me whisper to her seatmate.
I craned my neck to look and sure enough, we were landing on a highway. What the heck is going on? I thought to myself. After we landed we exited the plane and no further instructions were provided. People just started wandering off into the woods aimlessly. I periodically asked people what was happening and all I was able to figure was that there was some sort of natural disaster that had taken place and people everywhere were stuck. My cell phone didn't work for what seemed like an eternity. I was finally able to reach Jay and he said he couldn't get to the kids from where he was but that Megan was spending the night at our neighbor's house and Jack had gone home with a family from daycare since Jay couldn't get there before they closed down for the night.
In my dream I was temporarily relieved and went through the motions of getting back home 3 days later. I walked into my house and Jay and Megan were there. "Where's Jack?" I asked Jay.
"He's still at that family's house from daycare. They haven't called to say anything was wrong so I'm guessing he's just fine where he is. I'm just waiting for them to call and say to come pick him up."
"You mean they haven't called for 3 days? Who is the family he's with?"
"No. I haven't heard from them. I was told he went home with the Glass family."
I started to panic as I dialed the number with my fingers trembling. I asked the family if Jack was there and was horrified to find out that they never took Jack home with them. This meant that Jack had been missing with no word from him for THREE DAYS. My mind started racing. Where could he be? Does he think we abandoned him? Is he still alive? Where do I even begin to start looking?
And as I opened the phone book and started to search for hospitals, I completely broke down struggling to turn the pages of the phone book.
...and that is where I woke up...
A few hours later I was still trying to shake the nightmare from my mind when my cell phone rang. It was Jack's daycare. They were calling to tell me he was sick with a temperature of 103.5, headache, nauseous...the works. I called Jay and left messages on his cell phone and work phone to go get Jack. After talking it over with Jay, we decided that it was likely with Jack's temperature that he would be sick for the rest of the week so I made arrangements to come back as soon as I could.
I came back late Wednesday night just before the rain began to fall in Chicago.I went in to check on Jack. I put my hand on his head and he was burning up. He felt me touch him and he lifted his head, looked at me and said, "Hi Mommy. Did Daddy tell you I have a fever?"
"Yes he did, sweetie. That's why I came back. I'm going to give you some more medicine, okay?"
It was at that moment where I put any work guilt I had to the side. I was exactly where I needed to be. That decision was only reinforced as the days went by and Jack's temperature refused to fall but the rain in Chicago continued to fall, and fall, and fall.
Moral of this story: Sometimes you just need to listen to your gut. Maybe it was mother's intuition or maybe it was foreshadowing; maybe it was just a weird coincidence. I don't know. All I do know is that my baby boy has been sick for 5 days. And I know that here in Chicago we are having the worst patch of rain that I ever remember. It has now been raining for 4 days straight and had I kept my original flight that was supposed to come in late Friday, I probably still wouldn't be home.
This is my yard at this very moment.
(Oh, and that rectangular item in my um, "pond"? Yeah, that's my sandbox floating around in there.)