When C wakes in the morning, I run to him – in whatever state of dress or undress I find myself in at that point in my morning routine – and I say “hi!” and snuggle him and hug him and kiss him. He leans his head against me and snuggles me. Everything is right and perfect in the world for those few small minutes before the busyness of the day snatches us from each other.
After his diaper change this morning, he set out to play with the upturned wheels of his topsy-turvy wagon and say “turn wheel” a few times before it was time to go. I heard his dad’s final boarding call – the snap of his lunch box closing shut – and announced to C “it’s time to go to Nana & Tata’s!”. He looked at me and said “here”. I told him it was time to go, and he countered by sitting down and saying “stay”.
Oh wouldn’t we all just love to “stay here” all day long! His feet kicked in wild protest when I picked him up, told him mommy has to leave too and it’d be awfully lonely in the house all alone. I wondered if he thinks I stay home all day without him, since I’m there when he leaves and there when he gets home.
Just before I passed him to his dad, I shoved a cheese stick into his hand and reminded him to say “thank you” (he did). I said “I love you!” as they walked out the door and as I bent to grab his backpack, he said it back. So, I followed them out the door like usual – only this morning I was nearly nekkid (thank goodness for garages!) – and said “I love you” a few more times just to hear him say it back.
Afterward, I stood in my bathroom feeling stunned. We all know I’ve had tough days where all I wanted to do was stay home and be with him, and that I have prayed more than once for a way to make that happen (It’s coming! We have a plan! It’s in the works!). But I hadn’t prepared myself for the day when he would want to stay home, when he would be asking me for a reprieve. And you know what? It was flattering and frightening. But mostly, it stung.
I reminded myself of the thought that occurred to me when I was trying to convince him to go about his day: tomorrow is Friday! Tomorrow is our reprieve day! And, for now, it’ll have to do.