Leaving the house in the misty early morning. Car packed, devices plugged into chargers, directions on the seat next to me. Ready to back down the gravel driveway towards the highway that will carry me away from my family for yet another business trip.
A tentative tap on the passenger side window. My boy is standing there, his face puffy with sleep, gangly limbs exposed and vulnerable in too-small PJs. I hop out, run around to his side of the car. He’s picked his way toward me in bare feet across the cold, sharp, slippery stones.
Baffled. “Where are you going?”
I tell him.
“Will you be home soon or late?”
In three days, I say. In his world, this means late.
“You didn’t give me a hug and a kiss.”
He’s right. I snuck out of the house while he was sleeping, hoping to avoid exactly this moment.
And then he flings himself into me with a fury that knocks me off balance, face buried and arms wrapped as tight around my waist as the knot that’s forming in the pit of my belly.
Someone tell me please. Will this ever get easier?