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Taking Leave

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?

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Categories: Parenting, Work Tags: , ,
  1. August 17, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Yes. On the day when your child has been whining since he opened his eyes, since *before* you opened yours, and his fits verge on the violent and there is nothing you can do to please him, that is the day you will run out the door and say “See you in three days!” to him and the caregiver and flee.

    You’ll feel guilty in about 20 seconds, but the parting itself? That will be easier.

  2. August 18, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I wonder the same thing. The guilt is what gets me!
    I tell myself the fact that you feel guilty proves you are the best mother he could have! *hugs*

  3. August 20, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    No and yes and yes only because he’ll be older and likely not on the driveway but at his girlfriend’s house

  4. August 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    It will and then you’ll miss the little arms.

    That was so sweet, Stephanie

    • ssmirnov
      August 24, 2009 at 12:31 am

      You called it, Anissa. What happens the day my son gets blase about me leaving for business trips? Or (god forbid!) looks FORWARD to it, cuz it gets me out of his hair?? That’s gonna be a whole new mess of maternal angst…

  5. August 23, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    I don’t think it ever will. I struggle too.

  6. August 24, 2009 at 12:01 am

    No! My heart break just saying goodbye to my 3 yr old great nephew Caiden when he leaves my house and I won’t see him for a couple of days. They’re little and just don’t get it. A year ago his mom & dad were moving he stay at my house 3 nights while mom painted. The 2nd night he said mommy not love me, I still tear up thinking that he actually thought that and was glad he said it out loud so I could reassure him that she did. I think it is always important to say goodbye, I LOVE U! I love u more! LOL

  7. August 24, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Hot damn, girl. I knew I liked you, but I didn’t know you were a member of the writing tribe. Not surprised, but very pleased.

    I agree with the yes and no answers. When they catch you out is the hardest. I thought I would be clever last time and schedule a 7 am flight, ensuring I would be gone when they woke up. But it backfired, with wailing 3 and 5 year old in unison the night before at bedtime. “Our mommmmy…wooon’t be hereeee…”

    And, I know this is wrong, but after the heartbreak, my second reaction was a flash of anger and the thought, “You never pull this S*&^ with Daddy.” Which, of course, I would never say. But oh yes, I thought it.

    Sometimes while away, I miss them fiercely, other times I eat hot fudge sundaes in a diner at 2 am and think, “This never happens at home.”

    But I love how you captured that moment with your dear boy.

    • ssmirnov
      August 24, 2009 at 12:30 am

      There’s nothing more comforting than knowing we all go through this — and by the way, your 2 a.m. diner sundae thoughts? I’ve had those same exact thoughts eating decadent hotel room service watching chick flicks on pay-per-view during business trips 😉

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