I’m not sure if it’s his hands on the steering wheel or me in my seat, but the rain is turning to sleet as we wind up the canyon. I give him side-eye, my son now taller and broader than me with his shiny new driver’s license tucked in his wallet. His arms are relaxed, but I can see the tension in his jaw, the same line his father gets when I remind him about trash or the need to buy horse feed.
Pushing my foot through the passenger floorboards, I’m stressing him out.
I take a deep breath and count to five, but it comes out as a sigh.
His eyes get squinty and his shoulders hunch forward.
I count to ten this time and try not to breathe too loud.
When did I last check the tires?
“So you excited about speaking at the conference?” he asks.
“Really more trying not to throw up,” I say.
“You’ll be fine,” he tells me. “Want to stop for Coke or something? It might settle your stomach.”
When did we switch? Aren’t I supposed to be the one driving the car, reassuring, and giving dubious medical advice?
On one hand, there’s a maternal pride that I have shepherded a fussy, unwilling to nurse infant into a capable young man.
But I’m a really crappy backseat driver and the trickiest s-curves are coming up.
“Roads are getting a little slick,” he says. “I better ease off the gas a little.”
I count to three and think about daffodils and spring. It’s gonna be fine.