It’s NaBloPoMo Day 23!
Today’s confession: If you don’t show up when you said you would, I’ll assume you’re dead in a ditch somewhere.
Ten years ago, my husband went on one of his mondo-hiking trips with the guys. This wasn’t one of those little car-camping trips we’ve done; this was a “strap all your belongings on your back, hike 8-miles into base camp, and be gone for a week” kinda of trips.
He’d told me that he’d be home on Sunday around 1pm. “Maybe we can have lunch together?” he’d said. I hadn’t asked a specific time, but it was nice to have one.
1pm rolled around, and there was no sign of them. 3pm rolled around, and I went ahead and ate without him. (I was just sure that I’d finish my lunch just as he walked in, and that would be so rude of me!) 5pm rolled around and I was beside myself with worry. 9pm rolled around and I was just sure he was dead in a ditch somewhere. I’d told myself that if he had miraculously survived the crash, I’d kill him with my bare hands.
It was right around that time that he got home.
I was livid. I was so glad he was safe, but angry that he’d made me feel so helpless. This was back before cell phones were terribly prominent and the coverage was terrible. Still. You couldn’t stop and make a simple phone call? You couldn’t tell me you were running horribly late? He’d forgotten that he’d told me 1pm. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset.
He just didn’t get it. He was home on Sunday, so what was the big deal? The big deal was he’d given me a specific time-frame, and I actually adhere to those. It’s disrespectful to be late. If there are extenuating circumstances, call! Let the person waiting know! Don’t just waltz in and then act all confused as to why she’s angry.
If I’m late (to anything!) I feel terrible. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people disrespect others by being late. I try my hardest not to be one of those people.
My being angry at him didn’t mean I was trying to control his life. I mean, I’m not the boss of him. I don’t care when he gets back from his trips. It doesn’t bother me that he goes on these trips without me. In fact, I’m glad he goes on trips without me. Everyone needs something that is their own.
I only care when it conflicts with my expectations. Get back at 1pm or get back at 9pm; I don’t care. But, don’t tell me you’ll be back by 1pm and then get in at 9pm. If you’re 8 HOURS late, I’ll assume the worst. I can’t stop it. It’s part of my Midwestern genes.
Tell me you’ll be back “on Sunday.” Don’t give me a specific time. Give yourself a HUGE window to hit, and I’ll be fine. Give me a specific time, and I’ll hold you to it. I have no choice. I don’t make the rules of perfectionism. They make me.
He finally understood why I was upset or at least pretended to long enough to apologize profusely. I forgave him, but I’ve never let him forget it. The next year they went on their trip (they’ve gone almost every year since), the guy planning it pulled me aside and gave me specific information. He told me where the trailhead was, what the ranger station was, and the best number to reach the ranger. He said they’d be back “sometime” on Sunday. But, then he added that if they weren’t back by 3am on Monday morning to call the rangers and give them their information. He explained which trails they were taking but that they alter that on the fly, and that there’s no way to know an exact route in the backcounry. I told him that I totally understood that, and I appreciated the information.
My husband actually learned from what had happened the year before and was very careful in managing my expectations. “We’ll be back on Sunday. Probably,” he said with a smile.
And, whatdoyaknow? Again, he arrived after 9pm, but this time, he wasn’t late. He was right on time. Go figure.