(Episode #1 in a sporadic series)
There are times in a mother’s life when the primal mothering instinct can suddenly take over your mind and body. There is no forewarning and no way to stop yourself. You have no conscious knowledge or control over what you do. This can occur whether your child is small enough to burp over your shoulder–or large enough that you don’t even come up as high as his shoulder. It can happen whether your child is in the next room or across the globe. In fact, uncontrollable mothering can even take over when it’s someone else’s child. Beware. This could happen to you.
Daniel is going to visit a friend in Berkeley. This is approximately two hours away. He is extremely responsible. Driving up to the Bay Area is a trip Daniel has made at least 20 times before. He mentions that he’s driving with his friend Jordan in Jordan’s car. Here is a partial list of the questions I ask before Daniel leaves the house:
What kind of car does Jordan have?
Is he a good driver?
What time are you leaving?
Do you know that’s during rush hour?
Did you get a good night’s sleep last night?
When are you coming back?
Where are you staying?
What route are you taking?
Isn’t the print on that MapQuest set of directions too small to read while you’re driving?
At the exact age Daniel is now, I also took a car trip. Also with a friend. Also in my friend’s car. I don’t remember my father asking many questions before I left. And even though there were similarities in the trips, there were some important differences:
My friend and I were two attractive young women, traveling alone.
We didn’t wear bras in those days.
We didn’t have cell phones.
We didn’t have airbags.
We didn’t have MapQuest.
We had a map, but no itinerary.
We picked up hitchhikers.
We camped in a tent at night–sometimes at the side of the road, and sometimes with our hitchhikers.
Daniel’s trip is for 2 days and he is driving 100 miles away.
My trip was for 2 months and we were driving across the country.
I remember we had a great time that summer.
So I tell Daniel to have a great time in Berkeley.
And to please call me as soon as he gets there.