It was my brother-in-law who once posited that there is great comfort to be found in roads, since eventually they all end up connecting to one another. All roads lead to Rome, and that sort of thing. This is what I thought about as I drove up the highway from San Luis Obispo. We had spent the weekend with my son, my wife and I. We had been cramming Mother's Day in on top of his birthday, since the burgeoning grownup wanted to hang around with his pals on the actual day of his birth. It fell on a Saturday, after all. His parents were allowed an audience the week before.
And that's not really fair, since he was totally flexible about his plans and willing to accommodate the parents who brought him into the world nineteen years ago. He understood that he was going to be sharing his special day or so with his Mother on her special day. To accomplish this, we drove four hours on Saturday morning to get there to have lunch together. I was breaking all kinds of previously held beliefs to do this, most notably my personal edict against driving somewhere one day only to turn around and come home the next. The idea that we would have anything resembling "quality time" when there would be eight hours of driving out of thirty-six possible "us" time.
It was the time on the road that got to me. The Mother's Day and birthday stuff was great. It was the driving. On the way down, I knew that i was rushing because as much as I enjoy our rides in the central valley together, I was anxious to get the band back together. It was this highway that was keeping me from doing that. When we reached out destination, I felt relief. And the very next day, when it was time to pack up and leave again, I felt the opposite. I was reminded of the bleary weekends I spent during my freshman year of college, racing back home on Friday afternoon only to turn right back around again on Sunday afternoon. Here I was again, only now the destination was inverted.
On the drive home, I felt the miles roll by. I tried to hang on to the memories of our activity-packed two days together. I felt them stretch out behind me. I resented this road and the space that stretched out between us. I was grateful for the connection they brought us, but then it occurred to me that same brother-in-law had moved sometime after making his declaration. To Hawaii. All roads do not lead to Honolulu.
I miss my son.