Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Holly Holy

Holly. Is. A saint.

She’s the one who most often answers the phone at the teen wilderness trip office that sponsors the teen wilderness trip the teenager will be leaving on this Friday. Did I mention that the trip is in the wilderness?

This was one of those ideas that seemed a good one in February, when all I needed to do was watch a few videos on YouTube and send in a few hundred dollars deposit. But now that the day is nearing – the day where I send the teen across the country to spend three and a half weeks in the wilderness – (with strangers!) – I’m feeling (how would you say it?) a little high strung.

I call Holly nearly every day and I have for the past two weeks. I talk to her about little things (Can I send him with 24 oz. water bottles instead of 32 oz. ones?) and big things (So, exactly how many kids with asthma have actually been able to summit that 14,000 foot mountain of yours?). One hundred percent of the time, I hang up the phone feeling better.

Today, I called Holly three times. Once from the camping goods store and then twice from home. I ask her whether there are any other parents who call as much as I do and I think she says yes, but she’s giggling when she says it so it’s hard to be sure.

This trip is costing a small fortune, despite the fact that we got good rates on the flights and despite, also, that they provide the tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and backpacks. Nevertheless, I find myself running out every day, dropping another hundred dollars on some sort of gear or equipment that will probably never be used again.

Altogether, it’s probably just slightly more than I spend on therapy for the year. And I have to say, my conversations with Holly are quicker, more to the point, and rarely have anything to do with my mother. They’re just easier, you know? Which is why I’ve pretty much stopped therapy entirely, for now, and have just taken up with Holly.

It’s not like I’m going to talk about anything different in therapy than I do with Holly. I can ask Holly about whether they really need gaiters, and what exactly should be in their toiletries bag. And she’ll give me good, solid answers. Even though we both know that what I’m really asking behind each and every inquiry is that one single question that I would be bandying about for countless weeks with my Upper West Side shrink: Are you sure – I mean, are you really, really sure – that my baby is going to end up safe?

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