My son is leaving me for a week.
I'm half-excited for the freedom, and half-sad to have him gone that long. I don't think he's ever been gone from me that long when I wasn't on vacation or on a business trip. It's going to be hard to be at home for a week without him.
Last night he snuck into my bedroom and played with my hair while we listened to the thunder.
"I'm going to miss you when you're gone," I said.
"Like you missed Fred?"
"I'll come back, Mama," he said, not sounding at all sad to be leaving. He's never sad to leave me.
"Who will be my teddy bear?" I asked, trying to guilt him a little.
"Fred," he said.
He wrapped his arm around me and slipped his fingers through my hair over and over again until he fell asleep. I reminded myself that the fact that he is so comfortable leaving me, and so unconcerned about me is a good thing. I've done a good job. My son does not feel responsible for my happiness. He knows I'll be here when he gets back, and I'll be just fine.
Sometimes I wish I knew he missed me. Or maybe just once he could be sad to see me go? Okay, there was a time or two that he was sad, and I didn't like that. Whenever I get to thinking that his dad is his favorite and I'm just reliable old mom, I remember that when I pick him up from daycare, he always has a picture he's drawn from that day. For me. Of me. And my yellow hair.
And when he was named Student of the Week, this is what he had to say in his interview:
"Hi my name is CRACKY.
I am 4 years old. My favorite thing to do at home is play with my toys.
When I am at school I like to make art. I have 0 brothers and sisters. My favorite thing to watch on TV is "Aladdin." My favorite color is Dark Blue. My favorite food is chicken nuggets. My favorite animal is a horse. My favorite toy is Potato Head.
If I went on vacation I would go to my Mama's work and bring my music playing thing."
I guess he does love me after all. I mean, he must, if his idea of a vacation is coming to work with me. And I guess I don't need him to carry on about how much he'll miss me in order to know that. Besides, what's important here is that he knows I love him.
That's the way parenting works.