My batting average for noneventful business travel is about 0.500, and I'm not talking about delayed flights, lost bags or mixed-up hotel reservations. Rather, it seems like when I'm out of town, I get an unexpected call from someone in the Twin Cities asking if I'm aware of something involving my son.
Our son's poor decisions have been the baggage of a number of trips the past year. There was the first week of college when a drinking and drugging binge landed him in the emergency room and detox. There was the spring break reunion with former college friends who took him out smoking and doping when he was ill with mono.
I started writing this week's column aboard a flight to New York. There is something comforting about knowing for the next couple of hours I can read a magazine, work on a client document or even catnap without knowing who's trying to reach me.
Fortunately I landed without finding a kid-related voicemail or text message. What a relief that I didn't have to go into remote-parenting mode. The entire three-day trip went without a hitch, professionally and personally.
My husband, in the single-dad role while I was out of town, made some decisions to solve the "how to be in two places at once" problem. He engaged our 19-year-old in taking our 11-year-old to sports practice and then coming to the airport to pick me up Saturday afternoon. He told our son that he appreciated the help, and didn't burden him with expectations or rules; he simply gave him responsibility and freedom. Our son stepped up, and I was delightfully surprised when my "chauffeur" arrived!
That night, the siblings made plans to go see "The Hunger Games" before the older son's check-in at the sober shelter. My husband and I shared a welcome-home dinner, watched one of our favorite TV shows and enjoyed catching up.
This week, it's back to our routine of school, work and family commitments. Our oldest son will choose his routine for the week. He is scheduled to work Monday evening, and we are hopeful he'll go to outpatient treatment on Tuesday.