The grey hairs cometh.
I stand, gazing out onto our driveway, as the sun begins to slowly set in the west. It’s dinnertime and he’s not back yet. I don’t want to appear annoyed or worried about where he might be. I like to think I’m pretty lenient; I don’t ask where he’s going, or when he’ll be back; he doesn’t tell me if he’s going to meet anyone and that is OK, I don’t really mind. We have a trusting relationship.
But one thing that I know is that his stomach tends to rule his head. That’s why, as Olivia and William tuck into their dinners with gusto, I stand and wonder why he’s not home yet.
Our meal finished, we decide to take a walk, to see if we can see him coming down the road, coming home. He’s not there so we turn on our heels and slowly walk back, certain we’ll see him later.
It’s time for the children’s bedtime routine to begin. I run them a bath and then get them into their pyjamas. I had hoped he would be back to wish Olivia and William goodnight, but he isn’t. I wonder where he is, why he’s not home yet. The worry begins to grow.
My husband arrives home from work and I tell him that he’s not back yet, that he left the house at around 3pm and hasn’t returned, not even briefly. My husband jumps into the car and drives off, determined to find him and bring him home. It’s late now and darkness has well and truly fallen. A sense of panic begins to bubble up inside me but I do my best to stay calm.
It’s tenpm and my husband returns empty-handed. I worry about what has happened – has he had an accident? Been in a fight? Snatched? I have no idea how I will explain his absence to Olivia and William.
And then we see him, a flash of white slinking across the road and into our driveway. My husband rushes out to grab him and Dave (for that’s the alias I’ve chosen for our cat for this blog) lets out a welcome ‘miaow’.
We bring him inside, lock his cat flap and shower him with cuddles and kisses. The sense of relief that washes over me is immense. I don’t know where he’s been or what he’s been doing but the important thing is that he’s home and he’s safe. I may have gained a(nother) grey hair in the process though.
But more than that, I’ve glimpsed my future; what I will be like when my children are older and out partying until God knows when and all the worry and anxiety that goes hand-in-hand with raising increasing independent teenagers.
I’m not sure my nerves can take it.
*Stocks up the gin cabinet in readiness*