Did I mention that all three kids were gone last week? I have a post planned about how I think we will handle the empty nest based on our time last week, but for now I want to talk about my relationship with Hal.
Hal went to visit grandparents while his older siblings were at summer camp. They left a week ago Sunday; he left Monday. They returned Saturday; he returned Sunday. We met my mom halfway to retrieve him. I saw them exit the restaurant we were meeting at so I hopped out.
He saw me and raced toward me. I scooped him up and gave (and received) a big hug. Before I had a chance to ask how he was doing, he had spotted something behind me and was squirming to get down.
That something was his Daddy.
My reunion with my son was done. There was Daddy, after all.
You might think I’m bitter, but really, I’m not. He’s a Daddy’s boy and I understand why. I mean, they spend all day nearly every day home with Daddy over the summer. Daddy takes them to school. I go to work.
Hal is remarkably devoted to seeing me off properly when I do leave for work. Take Monday morning after his return, for instance. I entered his room and gently rubbed his back to wake him up before I left. I rubbed and rubbed and then gave him a kiss on the cheek. He didn’t really stir until I said, “Hal, I’m heading to work now.”
He hurried to an upright position and wrapped my neck in a tight hug. “I love you, Mommy. Have a good day at work.”
As I prepared to walk out the front door a few minutes later, he called out, “Wait, Mommy! I want more hugs and kisses!”
He could have stayed in bed – that’s what the other two would have done. But instead, he ran down the hall to repeat the farewells. And then he opened the door as I walked down the sidewalk and repeated all his well wishes, adding that he would lock the door behind me (a request I make frequently when leaving). He opened the door again to ask me what it is I do at work.
I could almost see the little wheels in his head turning as it dawned on him that he really had no clue what I do at work. Pausing to consider how to explain to someone so young, I finally said, “I write programs that run on computers.”
“Oh, ok. Have a good day, Mommy. I love you!”
We had to do double and triple good night hugs that night because I was leaving for the airport early the next morning. I would not be going into his room to say goodbye. This didn’t sit very well with him.
My first day of travel was such that it was well into the evening before I had a chance to call home. While talking to my husband, I could hear Hal in the background yelling something about Good Morning. “Why are you saying Good Morning?” my husband asked.
Eventually, Hal got on the phone and he told me Good Morning and suddenly, I understood. This was his first opportunity to speak to me that day. And it is very, very important to him that he tells his Mommy Good Morning. It’s the first thing said to each other every day. It’s why I never sneak out unless it’s unquestionably too early to wake him. It’s part of how I know just how much he loves me.
Good Morning, Hal. Mommy misses you very much.