This must be 2010.
Tom and I went to visit my mom in San Francisco. We thought my 13-year-old and his buddy would like to be dropped off in the city to hang out alone for their very first time in San Francisco.
We handed them forty bucks and told them we would be back in about an hour and a half.
Kyle left earlier that morning to surprise his girlfriend at Berkeley. He was really excited about Valentine's Day. It was his first with someone he cared about that wasn't his mother. He had the day planned. He was to drive across the Richmond Bridge and surprise her in Berkeley, pick her up, drive across the Bay Bridge and take her to Golden Gate Park where he would row her around Stow Lake, then he would drop her off at Bart and he would make it home via the Golden Gate Bridge.
Now, I hate to sound like a giant party popper, but I sat in mom's room and looked around at all the pictures I had hung for her last year. Almost everyone in the pictures had died. My stomach churned. I thought about Will in the city for the first time alone and quickly remembered we dropped him off precisely where most of the damage was done during our last big earthquake. And I couldn't even go to the places my mind wanted to, thinking about all the potential dangers Kyle could find himself in with all those bridges, cars, boats, and parks. The walls in mom's room started to close in on me.
Then I thought about my mother's twin sister who would have turned 88 with my mom. My stomach was now doing flip-flops. I had to sit down. Breathe I commanded. I watched my husband feed my mother an entire piece of marzipan cake. She seemed to be so happy and so alert. I wanted to enjoy her birthday but I couldn't.
Too much sadness and anxiety for one day.
We picked up Will and he was fine. We arrived home when the sun was setting. Tom and I took a long stroll along the water. We held hands..
"Do you think Kyle knows to leave the park before it gets dark," I broke the moment.
Tom is getting used to broken moments.
I was getting sick of myself. I found all my candle sticks and an entire box of candles. I filled the living room with candle light. Tom played music.
Finally I was experiencing some peace.
"What time is it?" I asked Tom who was cooking ME dinner.
Now, came the countdown to Kyle's arrival home.
I tried to stay in the moment. The candle light and soft music helped. I enjoyed. I really did. That is until I started to really think about the time.
He was later than he should be. When would my son walk through the front door? I practically held my breath.
I picked up my cellphone to call his girlfriend. And as soon as I did I heard that amazing sound, the front door opening. He was home.
I sighed a long deep sigh.
I placed my head on Tom's lap and watched the Olympics. It was perfect.
"I love you," I told all three of them but I don't need Feb. 14th to tell you that.