So we sent my nine year old son off to spend the summer with my mother in New York almost three weeks ago. That day was super-duper stressful. He traveled with a close friend of mine to JFK and my family met them there and whisked him off to the far reaches of Long Island. We worried and worried till we received text messaged photos of them at the airport in NY. My mother has said, since practically the day he was born, that she wanted him to come and spend summers with her at her place. I was never against the idea. Her house is a boys’ summer paradise. On the bay with a large yard, house stocked with three dogs and all the home cooked meals you can handle. It helps that my mother has more energy than I do. She is close to her mid-seventies and frequently registers in running races for age groups well below her own. She does not like to win by default (being the only one in her age group) plus she loves it if she actually beats someone in the younger age group (which happens often). She hates being inside more than anything and prays for short winters. So having my nine year old son around for a few months is no big deal for her.
With our son vacationing, his dad and I spent the first week acting like young adults whose parents have gone away and left them alone in the house. We started doing crazy things like seeing an adult movie at 7:30 on a weekday evening. I stopped cooking dinner and in fact have not really gone food shopping since our son left for NY. I joined a boot camp class that meets two weekday nights a week and had wine in someone’s yard last week Wednesday after the workout and came home when it was dark out. As we continue to transition to our new place, we have dumped a bunch of stuff in our son’s room as we work. The mornings are quiet with no nagging about breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and putting on sunblock. We have been doing a lot of walking outside after work around Ala Moana Park. And, while all of this has been nice, and I realize that other parents may find the tales of our shenanigans scintillating, at this point, in the third week of our son’s vacation, I am over it.
I talk to him every day. I give him a call when I get out of the shower in the morning. It is around lunch time there. About a week in, he started calling me three times a day or so. Some calls he was sobbing. He said that he wanted to come back. He said that he couldn’t stay there without me. My heart broke a bit every time we had this conversation. This lasted about three days. Since then, he has said that he misses me. He has said that it is not as much fun there without me. But he has not said that he wants to come back. I am glad.
I am glad because the past few days have been tough for me. I feel like I would gladly trade in all the time drinking and hiking to snuggle up with my son and read a book to him. Give him a hug and see his most excellent smile. The thing that helps me get through is that, well, the time for us to go there and fetch him back is getting closer and closer. That, and the pure and indescribable happiness that my son is bringing to my mother. Every time I talk to her on the phone she thanks me. She thanks his dad. She says it is the best gift we could have ever given her. She is amazed by him every day and, if it is possible, I feel like she loves him more now than she did before. And I only hope that he feels the same. That, even if, he doesn’t know it now, that when he is older he will remember this time as an invaluable and irreplaceable gift. And this is what is helping me to get through till we go back and get him.