Reflections July 17, 2006

The whole point of having children while we were young, Mark and I told ourselves, was so that we’d still be able to walk when they headed out the door to college, leaving us free to join the Peace Corps, take up sky diving or sail around the world. You know, whatever might strike our fancy.

That plan seemed to be working rather well. When the care of three energetic children and one intellectually impaired dog started to get us down, we’d glance at each other as if to say, “Not too much longer now!”

This premise, around which I have built my shaky sanity for the last 12 years, has been called into question rather dramatically since about 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

It was that fateful hour during which I walked down the jet way at Baltimore Washington International Airport and kissed my embarrassed 12-year-old goodbye for almost 4 whole weeks. He got on that plane and jetted off to a vacation in paradise with his grandparents, four weeks of gallivanting around the Hawaiian Islands, recipient of undivided attention from grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

It’s already objectively observable that he does not miss us in the least.

I, on the other hand, am not feeling so carefree. I of the, “Once we unload these pesky kids we can really start living!” school of thought am really, really missing my child.

I miss his conversation, I miss his hugs, I even miss his piles of junk all over the house. And worse, I’m starting to wonder about my grand idea to get rid of the kids. I’m afraid, if this past week is any indication, I might miss them.

I might miss them so much that I will be paralyzed by sorrow, unable to move from the telephone in case they call, waiting by the door for their next visit home.

This is a very sobering consideration . . . I just didn’t know how very much these children (even the dog? I hope not!) have become part of who I am . . . how much their little lives bring excitement and meaning to mine. I have to say, life has been a little lonely without Hayden here.

Too late now to change the plan, of course. I guess my best bet is to get the child back and enjoy him while I can.

Then, when he eventually goes off for good I’ll mourn his absence . . . while strolling down the Champs-Elysées, or something like that . . . .

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