His worry made me worry which made the grandfather worry, which resulted in all of us worrying. The big eyes, filled with concern, and somewhat frozen face is also a reminder of my mom's last days. So there was worry enough for both the living and the dead.
While the trip was good, it brought up a lot of issues of how to find ease when anxiety is the fourth member of the family. We talked, we exercised, we ate, we sat in silence, and still the tension was the elephant in the room. We worried about personal space, personal values, social justice, global warming, environmental degradation, creating community. All worries that can keep the most engaged adult awake, not usually the 13-year old.
However, during these moments, what was also present was an outpouring of communication both verbal and non-verbal. A look, a touch, the face in the rear-view mirror. It all said something.
After three days, I had hoped that the tightly clenched fists and wide expressive eyes would soften. That the physical body would melt from rigidity just a bit. That an exhale would open the lungs. That he could smile being with me.
And then . . .
For an interesting read on anxiety, check out this piece in the NY Times Magazine by Daniel Smith.