Last weekend With-a-Why went off on a three-day field trip with his art teachers to Big City Like No Other. He packed for the trip by shoving an extra shirt and a pair of mittens into his backpack, but assured me that he had his cell phone with him in case of emergency. He’s the baby of the family, so it still feels strange that he’s old enough to go off by himself, even when I know that he’s with other students and a bunch of teachers.
It was reassuring to get text messages from him at odd moments of the weekend. The first came soon after my husband had dropped him off: “I thought I was on the wrong trip when I got on the bus. There were like 40 girls there but no guys. And they all packed like they were going on a 3-month trip to England. Seriously, if you can’t carry your life on your back, you’re doing something wrong.”
It was almost 24 hours later when I got another brief message: “I like art. I hate tour guides.”
That evening, a text chimed in: “I had granola bars in my pocket at the beginning of the day. They’re gone now. Either there’s a really disappointed pick-pocket somewhere, or I dropped them in a museum. Hope they don’t think they’re supposed to be some kind of modern art exhibit. Keeping on the cutting edge of the avant-garde as always.”
Every text message went to all of us – his three siblings, me, and my husband — his family back here who could read between the words and see that he was having a good time.