No Such Luck
Before the ‘rona altered everyone’s life as we collectively knew it, I planned a flight to visit my son in the Sunshine State to help him move. You won’t be surprised to learn that my trip was nixed, so advance the calendar a year when I opt to drive to see my kid, a decision made easier by the fact that I now only lived ten hours away by car. For a long holiday weekend and an extra vacation day thrown in for kicks and giggles, I can avoid most public places and still get to see my offspring. Even better, my Angel would get to meet said child for the first time. I booked a room and made plans for said son to be off work while we visit, and we will finally have our awaited family time.
Of course, the project altering our life brings its own global impacts. The choice now becomes do I cancel completely, or travel without my superhero and risk his not being home upon my return? We know he will depart sometime, and maybe I might get lucky and his departure will be scheduled well after my little getaway. No such luck. He books his departing flight for early morning on the day I will arrive home missing each other by twelve hours. We avoid discussing this fact until the morning of my departure – February 13 – as I prepare to leave. We stand at the back door to the carport, mutually crying and knowing that we won’t just miss each other by a handful of hours, we will miss each other for the next two years.
I hate spending our last few minutes together crying, but the one solace I take while my runny nose and blurred vision cloud my drive east on Interstate 10 is that I wasn’t the only one of us crying. Over the past week, knowing his departure was imminent, and privately knowing he, too, was dreading having to say, “Goodbye,” makes me realize that despite the great adventures ahead of him, the hurt I feel isn’t confined to me. Adding yet another feeling – guilt – that I am taking a getaway when I could spend a handful more days with him, forces me to compartmentalize my emotions about what is coming rather than crying interminably and take a more adult approach. Still, throughout the drive, I cry like a toddler losing my favorite plaything.
“I’m not even going to pretend I’m upset,” I confess when weather postpones his departure two days. Now I’m powering my way back westward with enthusiasm rather than sadness to see my beloved and curl up next to him. In thirty-six hours he’ll depart for good, and I’m certain I’ll cry again, but my Valentine’s Day gift, in addition to the balloons, the chocolates, and the roses on the table when I arrive, is standing in the kitchen cooking dinner. So yes, when I watch him walk into the airport and the sliding doors close behind him, we’ll both cry again and we’ll both know we have a forever Valentine missing each other.