Longing. I pined for my children when they were away, longed to grab a hold of their cute little faces and cover them with kisses. Sunday night, after a whirlwind three-day weekend full of adventures and fun, I asked the kids what they missed while they were away.
“Well, I felt weird because I sort of forgot to miss you while I was gone, Mommy. But when we were driving home I remembered how much I missed you and it made me want to cry. I’m sorry I forgot to miss you, Mommy.”
At first this answer stung almost as much as hearing Not-Kirk pleading with the kids to pick up the phone and talk to me during their trip away. I want Twinkle to love adventure and crave time with her family, but I was also hoping she would miss me by day 6 and want to come home. Not earlier, you see, I really wanted them to enjoy their experience completely, but if missing Mommy could start 24 hours before they come home then I feel validated that I give them the childhood that they want to return to, but that I wasn’t a Mommy that makes her kids fear leaving for adventures.
Trust me, I know how weird I sound.
After a while, though, I started to see the joy in her answer. And by a while, I mean it took until today even though I asked this question a couple of days ago. My children are in a family so full of love, overflowing with people ready to drop everything and go adventuring with them when they are in town. They have the awesome opportunity to spend weekends with Grandma and Grandpa in Michigan, spend some of their summer vacation with five grandmas and two grandpas in St. Louis, and have every day adventures with their Dad and I. Forgetting to miss me was the best explanation of her time there — love filled every moment of her days to such an extreme degree that there wasn’t any room left for longing or sorrow.
“I missed how you tell me I am awesome every day. And I missed how when I wake up before everyone else we can sneak into the family room and eat yogurt together. I missed giving you wet willies [interruption of answer as he leveled a stage 4 wet willy against me, two fingers in each ear completely covered in spit] and I missed giving you love.”
Ninja isn’t one for talking on the phone. Every day of his trip he would call me, scream into the phone for 5 seconds, then run off. But my boy and I, we have the mother son bond that makes me understand how Buster and Lucille’s dynamic evolved in Arrested Development. When he looks at me, his eyes mischievous and his dimples speaking volumes, I have to fight the urge to tell him he is the most perfect, beautiful, smart and wonderful boy in the universe. I am glad he is just barely 4, and glad that at this age I am still his most favorite person in the universe. He had a wonderful time with his family, and every night he asks to go back to St. Louis and stay with Grandma P again soon. Some day in our future I can picture my kids begging to go see their out-of-town family without mom and dad just to be free of us. For now, though, eight days was the perfect amount of time to remind us how much we like being together.