Letting Go

Written By: Miranda - Nov• 11•10

Oregon or Bust

Of all the lessons in letting go that have come my way lately, the biggest one came watching my son’s taillights going down that driveway.

My son has gone on driveabout, the American version of the Australian walkabout, the rambling, cross-country rite of passage that young people all go on if they are lucky. I went myself, back in the day, and it was one of the best experiences I could have had.

But it’s different watching it from the other side, being a mother and watching your child go off in a car with 200,000 miles on it. Granted he got new axles and gaskets before he left.

I know my worries are excessive. My son carries electronic equipment that we never had. He has a Tracfone, a prepaid cell phone. He has a computer. The first night I got an email from a rest area outside of Albany, New York and then I heard again from a closed “Welcome to Iowa” center where he had stopped to rest. I happened to be online at the same time and we had an email conversation – me here on my red couch in the comfort of my living room and my child at the border of Iowa on Route 80, alone in the dark, traveling with his bed in the back and the camp stove and the old coffee pot we bought in Idaho City when we traveled across country with the Frog Army.

I didn’t hear anything for four days after that.  I told myself that it wouldn’t be much of an adventure, not much of a true driveabout if a young traveler had to keep in touch with his mother all the time now would it? But my mind, which can go from zero to sixty in two minutes or less when it comes to dreadful scenarios, was working overtime. In most of the scenarios we never even found the body.

I finally got so worried that I went to our local bank. It’s a small town and a small town bank and the tellers have known us both for donkey’s years. I asked if there had been any activity on his debit card and they were kind enough to tell me that there had, just that morning in Boise, Idaho.

I shouldn’t have done that. My son’s father was quick to tell me, when I spoke to him on the phone that he disapproved. “He’s twenty years old” he said. “He’s gone and you have to get used to it.”

My son made it to Oregon and is staying for a few days with my sister, his aunt. Just this evening he called and told me all about his hike out to Bagby Hot Springs, down near Estacada, Oregon. I had told him to be sure to go out there. It was one of my favorite day trips when I lived out there, an easy scenic hike through old growth Douglas Fir forest and at the end a bathhouse with bathtubs made of hollow logs, fed by a steaming hot natural spring. It was wonderful hearing him talk about it, hearing how much he’d enjoyed it. “I think I’ll go up to the Olympia, Washington area for a bit” he said.

And I’ll let him go and not ask the ladies at the bank to help me track him. I’ll let him go.

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