This weekend had all the potential for being glorious: mostly blue skies, golden sunlight, and the beginning of a two-week Spring Break. Only problem? My son has decided to take off with a couple of friends and go to Santa Cruz. A dark cloud of worry suddenly mars the forecast.
I try not to let my anxiety ruin his excitement. When he comes into my room to exchange car keys (he's taking my car since it's newer and gets better gas mileage than his), I temper my words of caution with wishes for a fun weekend. He hands me the keys and leans over to give me a hug. Not a quick, gotta-go hug but more of a I-know-you're-worried-love-you kind of hug.
"Be careful," I say. "You are my life."
He releases me from his embrace and steps back.
I smile as I add, "Even if you don't want to be."
He gives me a look. He doesn't leave the room, though, but hangs around for a few more minutes talking about his friends and who has been vaccinated and what their plans for the weekend are. He finally ends with another goodbye and walks out the door.
I close my eyes against the tears that are threatening to form. "Watch over him," I pray, foolishly not to God but to my dad, who I am convinced watches over all of us any time we are in the car, a belief derived no doubt from the countless road trips with my dad in the driver's seat.
The bedroom door suddenly opens.
"Wow. How was your trip?" I joke.
He grabs a mask from the pile I keep on my dresser, walks over to me, and gives me another hug goodbye.
"Be careful," I say again.
"Of course." He turns around at the door and gives me a goofy grin and a wave. Then he shuts the door and he is gone.