Are you sure you can handle it?"
I was going out of town for three days and two nights. The children would safely be in the hands of their grandparents and good friends while my husband worked. I had taken care of the details, ironed everyone's clothes, made sure they had toothpaste and lunch money. As far as I could tell, my husband only had two tasks he was responsible for other than taking care of himself: buying dog food and taking our daughter to get her hair cut.
"Are you sure you can handle this?" I asked again as I put the last of my things in my suitcase. He was sitting on the bed, hovered over his computer. Bless his heart. He's working so hard. Look at him, the sun's not even up and he's poring over excel sheets and reports and getting out bids. ... He's so busy he can't even answer me.
I glanced at his computer screen.
He's reading about college football.
"What?" he says, suddenly aware that I'm in the room. I suspect his skin was starting to burn from the evil-eye stare I was giving him.
Pardon me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked college football doesn't start for ... what is it ... seven more months? I said as much out loud.
"Well ... technically ..." he began. I turned up the heat on the evil-eye stare, subliminally trying to fry his brain. I must have scared him, because he suddenly paid attention to me.
"OK, OK, I know. Dog food. Haircut," he said. "I've got it."
Oh, God. He's going to cut the dog's hair and feed our daughter dog food. I just know it.
But I had to let it go.
I went into the kitchen where our teenage son was getting his breakfast.
"You stay after school today, right?" I asked. He mumbled what I thought was a yes. I told him I would call and make sure his grandmother knew where he was and that Miss May would know if he needed to be picked up and what time he would be finished and what time the basketball game starts and who would pick him up. ...
"I've got it handled, Mom," he said. What about tomorrow and the next day, I asked.
"Mom..." he groaned.
That was my cue. He had it handled.
It's a miracle, really. How a 15-year-old can arrange and organize three days of pick ups and drop offs and scheduling with multiple drivers while keeping up with his homework and basketball shorts and such -- yet just last weekend he claimed he couldn't make a sandwich.
I had to let it go.
I heard my 12-year-old daughter's footsteps on the stairs. It was time to say goodbye. We drove to school.
"Call if you need me ... and be careful ... and be nice ... and ..."
They couldn't get out of the car fast enough. My daughter glanced back one last time before she walked into school and gave me a little smile.
Oh, God ... I forgot to warn her ... "And don't eat dog food!" I should have yelled after her. I should have. ...
But she was gone. She wouldn't hear me.
Sometimes you just have to let things go.
I hope he at least gets the gourmet kind.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.