Summer is over, if you did not know. One sure sign: our son left today. He is somewhere on I-5, threading through the northern towns of California, past large suburban sprawls and endless agricultural valleys, toward his for-now college home in Oregon. A call last night from his roommate informed him of bad news: a friend’s fresh Covid diagnosis, and the roommates’ possible exposure.
He informed me of this news with admirable poise and equanimity. I would have thrown a full-blown woe-is-me tantrum. Maybe as the mom, such news brings back all the stress of trying to protect my family — the wiping-down, the curling in, the lifting up of the drawbridges. I dread these rituals as much as I don’t want anyone to be sick. Or maybe it is that 18 months of online college has taught him how to deal with setbacks.
He was disappointed, sure, but he swung with the news. Found a place to stay for a couple nights until they know for sure his house is clean.
— But what if they’re positive, kiddo? I guess we can find a motel, or Airbnb, or…
— Mom, stop.
Right. One day at a time, and all that jazz.
Living in this startling age of a global pandemic, its losses and its victories, the up of getting vaccinated, the down of too few people taking it to shut the virus down, and the still dawning discovery that things are going to be different for a while, has gifted him the elusive superpower of adaptability. I am learning it along with him, once again his student.