Posted on | June 10, 2013 | 8 Comments
When my son leaves for visitation weekend, a part of me dies for a few days. I go through the motions, I live and laugh and do all the things I normally do… but part of me is missing. If your child has ever gone away for a while, you know what I mean. You’re whole, but you’re not quite whole.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove about an hour north to meet my ex-in-laws at our designated “pick up point” and wrapped my arms around my son. He was bigger… he always is after a weekend away… and, as always after time away, he had a ton to say about, well… everything. We talked the whole way home and then more at dinner. We chatted through the same episode of Henry Hugglemonster three separate times. We chatted through bath time and most of bedtime and just when I thought he was asleep, I whispered across the room:
“I’m so glad you’re home, buddy.”
It was soft, the words floating lightly on the air and I didn’t expect he would hear them, I just needed to say them. In the half-second that followed, with the whirr of the ceiling fan attempting to blot out the words, he exhaled a soft, almost imperceptible reply:
“I love you, too, Mommy.”
The smile on my face could have lit the house. I knew he couldn’t hear my words, couldn’t run them through the portion of his mind that processed thoughts and words and sentences. He was so close to sleep that his breathing was slow and drowsy and his words poured out like syrup in the room. He couldn’t possibly have heard what I said, or he would have responded with something like “Me too” or his standard “I missed you when you were away.” He couldn’t hear my words…
But he knew what I was saying.
He heard the rise and fall of my voice and he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I must be telling him I loved him. Because I do. Because I do so very much. And though I had thought of slipping out and catching up on television or reading or maybe laundry, I padded back to the space beside of him and curled up for sleep. I’m doing something right. I’m doing something so very very right.
Because even when I’m not saying it, he’s hearing that I love him.