When does concern turn into action?
Or more specifically, at what point does a nervous wife consider filing a Missing Persons Report when her med school husband does not come home?
Disclaimer: Matt is an excellent communicator. A man of his word. The most responsible person I know. Well, next to my mother. (As long as that woman has air in her lungs, she will out-duty anybody. As my brother once told me, “Give her a list, and get out of her way!”)
For those of you who know Laura, I know you’re nodding. And smiling.
Where was I? Ah yes – Matt is a good communicator. So when I didn’t hear from him, I got nervous. More on that in a bit.
We have been told in no uncertain terms to possibly expect some unreal work hours when Matt’s in residency. But that’s still 3 years away, and while I appreciate having an idea of the future (for heart preparatory reasons), I have the blessing and curse of only being able to live and think in the present. Consequently, I have not spent a lot of time worrying about what’s to come.
The story goes:
But being a rookie med-school wife, I still considered the possibility that Matt had been abducted at knifepoint in the parking lot. One too many Criminal Minds episodes for this girl.
I’ve long given up that show, because Matt convinced me that it wasn’t a good choice for me since I’m so impressionable. He’s right. It gives me bad ideas. Case in point – images of him being held against his will somewhere plagued me as the hours wore on. What if duct tape was involved?
There, my good wifely name is still in tact.
Psalm 91 and 121 gave me great comfort too, and I suggest meditating on those chapters for anyone struggling with fear.
When 11:30 rolled around, I somewhat calmly considered when it might be appropriate for me to file that missing persons report.
The line between “nervous, crazy wife” and “responsible, reasonably concerned wife” became blurry to me.
Either Matt was working hard and exhausted, or he was a victim of a heinous crime. Either way, I asked God to give him His strength and to sustain him and give him peace.
Around 12a.m. – My tired husband returns home.
I have a choice:
- Explode (not my go-to tactic).
- Brush it off and go easy on him (not the healthiest, I think).
- Communicate level-headedly and go easy on him by being understanding and gracious (best choice but not what happened).
- Cry (what I did).
Matt and I aren’t going to win any awards for communication that day. To his credit, the next day, I received about 7 texts from him throughout the day letting me know his status. Over the top, but very considerate. And helpful.
So when he got home at 1 a.m. the next night after another emergency procedure, I wasn’t nervous at all. We had pizza at the table and talked about his day.
A well-learned lesson to this rookie med-school wife about altering my expectations. It saves me so much grief (and embarrassment).