Up until the bus drove away, I only let my worry about the unseasonably hot weather occupy my thoughts. After the last minute haircut and sandal purchase, I lectured him one last time. "Be sure to drink lots of water. Stay hydrated, keep cool, and use your sunscreen" I reminded him. After I quizzed him on my new cell number, we laughed about when he might use it. "Well," I said, "IF the bus was to break down and you were somehow left on the side of the freeway…alone…with somebody else’s cell phone…and you wanted to call for help…you would need to know how to reach me." He reminded me that that wasn’t very likely to happen. I agreed, and then quizzed him again.
He looked so cute with his huge bag slung over his shoulder. The agency had sent a checklist of things to pack and YaYa had carefully collected and packed each item on the list. There were a few items, such as rain gear, that I was certain would not be needed. Being the good camper that he is, he packed them anyhow.
I waited with the other parents until the bus made it’s exit and then got into my van and left for home. Up ahead, I could see the bus approaching the freeway and then driving the opposite way as me. I could feel the tears coming. It wasn’t because I would miss him (though I certainly would), it was because life had dealt us a hand which would necessitate bereavement camp.
I let a couple of tears roll down and then put detour signs up for the rest. It’s difficult to see clearly when your eyes are full of tears, and I need to stay safe for my children. I said a prayer for each of us, and merged onto the freeway.