We often rant against our parents on this board–and often with good reason–but today I’d like to pass along a funny but touching story that happened today.
I live in Miami and work in the Everglades, which means I work alongside alligators on a very frequent basis. This past week, the news down here has been inundated with the tragic story about a young woman who was brutally killed by an alligator. I guess over the weekend the story hit the national spotlight, but with no details mentioned other than the fact that the victim was a 28-year-old who lived in South Florida.
I’m a 28-year-old who lives in South Florida, with a known history of encountors with alligators.
This morning, around 11:30, my big sister called to let me know that my mother was flipping out. By “flip out” I mean that she was crying and calling the Miami-Dade police department, trying to get details about the victim. (My parents live almost a thousand miles away, by the way). I found out that she had called my house a million times early this morning (when I was deep in REM sleep), to no avail. And of course my cell phone was off, as it always is. My mother also left messages at my workplace (I must erase them before anyone else can listen to them). When she didn’t hear from me, she became convinced that I was the girl who had gotten eaten by the gator and then took to bed in hysterical tears. What a happy Mother’s day!
My dad was also mess. He comforted my mother before going off to church (apparently she was too crazed with worry and grief to go), all the while praying that I was alright. In the middle of the service, an usher came up to my father and told him that someone wanted to see him out in the lobby. My father’s first thought was that it was the police, wanting to formally inform him of my demise. He later told me that he had to work hard to keep it together as he walked out of the sanctuary*. Turns out a guy was looking for someone else who happened to have my father’s last name. Emotionally wiped out, my dad took a walk and decided to call me one last time on his cell phone. My voice answered his prayers, and he immediately went back to church so he could testify.
My parents go to a Pentacostal church. When he told the church that I hadn’t been eaten by an alligator, the whole congregation erupted into “holy ghost” dancing. I wasn’t there, but I can imagine it. Remember the church scene in The Blues Brothers? Magnify that by one-hundred.
I called my mother and assured her I was okay. I could tell from her voice that she had indeed been crying. I kept telling her that if I had been attacked, she would have heard something from someone, that she wouldn’t have had to hear it on the news. She’s always worried she’ll be the last to know if anything happens to me. We talked for a long time and I cheered her up, and I also apologized for putting her through that torture. Especially on Mother’s Day. It indicated to me how worried my parents must be for me all the time and how much they love me. And it also gave me a minute glimpse into the sadness of the real victim’s family. My mother plans to send the victim’s mother a sympathy card.
I haven’t picked out a Mother’s Day present yet because I’m going to be visiting my family later this week. I think I’m going to get something gator-themed. Or would that be in bad taste?
*What was really hilarious and crazy was that–throughout all of this drama–my father was thinking about how he was going to have to rent a U-Haul to move all of my stuff (and cats, who he can’t stand) back to Atlanta. That’s a man for you, always thinking about practical matters!