I’ve always had trouble with goodbyes. From the time I was a kid I cried pretty much every time I had to say goodbye to anyone. Movies with painful goodbyes? I was a wreck before the emotional instrumental interlude that plays as a car headed down the dusty dirt road even started. I was the kid that got homesick on sleepovers. I even hated college because I was away from my family.
But I was not prepared for what a true heartbreaking goodbye felt like until I had kids. To this day, I have delegated drop offs to my husband. I can’t stand being the one that has to take them to daycare and hear the cry. I’ll be the first one there to pick up and see that smile and running feet, but drop off…no way. Yes, I use my "I carried them for 9 months and had three c-sections, what did you do???" card with this chore.Now I have to admit, I really don’t have any trouble leaving J and H anymore. I mean, technically now that J is in school, she “leaves” me in the morning. She heads off to Kindergarten bright and early and enjoys school so much, I don’t have a twinge of guilt about working. H is in pre-school and so we still have to drop him off, and yes there is the occasional “Do you have to work today?” moan from him on a Monday morning. But overall, he’s 4 so he gets it. He understands by now that Mom has to go to work, but then she’ll be back and in his mind Mommy works so the transformers and monster trucks can be in abundance. In other words, he'll bear some time without me for Bumblebee or Grave Digger.
But, then there is L. My baby. Not only my baby, but my baby baby, my youngest and last child. He by far and away has put me through the most heart wrenching goodbyes.
It seems L and I have had the world trying to keep us apart literally since his birth. When he was born, he swallowed a lot of fluid during my c-section and so instead of getting to hold him right away off he went to Neonatal ICU. He was kept from me for about 3 hours, well actually after about an hour I threw such a fit with the nurses in my recovery room that they made an exception and wheeled me down to visit him briefly. His was my only c-section that I didn't recover quickly and so I had to have a lot of help in the first couple of months. L was the easiest baby known to man and so when he was a baby, my husband opted to “take care of him” when we would go somewhere, leaving me to chase after a then 2 and 3 year old J and H.
L is now almost 2 years old and he is a notorious Mama’s Boy. It didn’t start this way, as he was started as Daddy’s little guy. But suddenly around 18 months old, he became glued at my hip. Now everywhere we go he’s right by my side.
And this has lead to L winning the prize of being the hardest person I have ever had to say goodbye to. I have to say of my three kids he wins the prize for breaking my heart the most at goodbyes.
When J was little she would cry when I would leave. She would even try and follow me to the door. But, once Todd lifted her up she stopped crying. H was a little harder in that when he was toddler and I would leave in the morning he would always say “Wait Mommy” and run and try to grab his shoes. But all I would have to do is pick him up and sing him our song (I stole from Wonder Pets) of "Wherever you are, whatever you do, I'll always always come back for you"...and instantly he was calmed down.
L? Well, I'm not getting off even remotely that easy. Every time I have to leave him he comes up to me with his huge brown eyes and says “Momma, I’ll come with you”. He repeats this over and over while he follows me around. Sometimes in a statement, and sometimes in a question begging me to let him come.
I don’t know if it’s the sound of his voice, or the fact that this is the first sentence my quiet son has spoken, but each time he says this it breaks my heart a little more. It’s like a small crack in the wall of an aquarium each time he says it another crack, another one, another one…and I feel with every line it’s going to shatter and the water (or in my case tears) will come out.
I know someday he'll understand. I know he'll learn like J and H that Mommy honestly does not want to go and will be back before you know it. But until then I just have to endure the line, or in reality try and sneak out the door as fast as I can.