My Facebook friends have already heard this story, but I wanted to share it, and elaborate on it, with my Bluegrassmoms friends.
I had a daylong board meeting to preside over in the morning, so I had gone to bed early. I was, just like in the poem, nestled all snug in my bed. It was 2 a.m. Then I heard Dan come into my room.
“I’m all right,” he said right away, knowing how startled a mother can be when her son appears at the foot of her bed in the wee hours of the morning, looming like a lanky tall shadow. (For some reason, whenever Dan does this, I wake up and shout, “Sean! Tony!” – the names of my nephew and my brother, who obviously aren’t going to be showing up in my bedroom at two o’clock in the morning.) “I need your help,” he went on.
I was wide awake at once. I instinctively knew he wasn’t waking me up just to tell me he loves me. “What happened?” I said, telling myself to stay calm no matter what catastrophe had just transpired. Mother-minds can run through a gamut of worst-case scenarios in two seconds, and at the same time steel themselves for all impending contingencies.
“I ran out of gas in front of the farm up the road,” he said. “I need you to take me to get some gas and then go back and pick up my car.”
He was sweating. “I ran from the spot where I left my car all the way home,” he said. “We’ll have to measure how far it was when we go.”
Relieved that it was nothing more serious than that, I got out of my nice warm bed and pulled on my sweats and sneakers. We headed downstairs to the garage, got the gas can (that I had bought when I once ran out of gas) and started out in my car. I set the odometer to zero to see how far Dan had run in the cold and dark. It turned out to be a mile and a half. I dropped him with his car and went another mile and a half to the gas station. Back at the car, Dan poured the gas in his tank and the car started right up, so we headed home again.
But we were both wide awake. He had gotten Robin Hood from Redbox and was planning to watch it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep right away because the brisk cold air and the necessity of focusing and planning had chased away the vestiges of slumber. “Let’s go get something to eat,” he said. “What’s open?”
I named a couple of nearby possibilities, and we ended up going to Sonic and having a breakfast croissant (Dan) and a breakfast burrito (me) – with tater tots, of course. We came back home to eat and watch some mindless late-night (or rather, early morning) TV, and then I went back to bed, mindful of the busy day ahead of me.
I fell asleep smiling, grateful for the unexpected adventure and the unexpected moment of bonding we had shared. Grateful that Dan still trusts me and comes to me to help him solve some of his problems. Grateful that everything went smoothly and the car started right up and he got home safely. Grateful for the chance to help someone, even if it was at 2 a.m. And grateful for those yummy tater tots.
(P.S. He used this incident as another ploy to get me to buy a cell phone. He called me when his car stopped, but my landline phone is in the loft by my computer and it has a very quiet ring. In the bedroom with the door closed and the space heater going, I didn’t hear it at all.)