Last night I had one of those eye-opening parental moments. I’m heading out of town tomorrow for four days for business (and a little pleasure too). Didn’t tell Sam about it until last night. At first he kind of just went with it like he usually does. Then a little while later, he looked over at me from the dinner table and said “Mommy, how long will you be gone?” I said, “Four days.” His eyes got really big and welled with huge tears. He looked down and hid his eyes from me. I squatted down and said, “Honey, what’s wrong?” And he squeaked out, “Nuffin!” and sobbed. Of course my heart dropped and I squeezed him tight reminding him that I’d be home before he knew it.
I think a lot of times we parents start assuming our kids are indifferent about us. We run around trying to meet their basic needs but still have endless requests from them. We give long speeches on how to behave and they seem to be lost in outer space. We are a source of snacks, meals, money, carpool, TV remote controls, and playdate organizers. You start feeling like the vehicle rather than the driver. But, then, they reveal a tiny piece of themselves that proves you are much more than all those menial things. You are needed, but more importantly, you are loved. And then, suddenly, you have the strength to keep the household going another day knowing somehow it will all pay off.
Even at 39, I (sadly) probably still make my parents feel like I am indifferent about my love for them. Truth is, I’d be lost in this world without them. And, Sam will feel a little lost without me for the next four days. But, I’ll be back and I’ll continue to be the snack-fetcher, carpooler, playdate organizer. And when he is ignoring me again, I will remember those tears.