Tonight, I got hugged, kissed, petted, patted, poked, “I love you”d and more general happiness just because I existed than I think I may have ever experienced in my entire life. At least, the most since I was born, I’m guessing.
I just got off a plane from caring for a family member recovering from a serious illness. It wasn’t possible to take my boys because of the situation and they have been home for a week with their Daddy and a very loving and incredibly responsible babysitter. Today’s technology means I could Skype with them throughout each day I was gone and they did just fine without me.
Still, #2 didn’t know whether he wanted to laugh or cry when he saw me so he just threw himself into my arms at General Mitchell Airport and made people laugh with his race down the hallway to get to me. #1 was, literally, unable to speak but he could hold on tight to my neck, hand, arm, leg, whatever he could reach.
I’m not sure anyone has ever been so happy to see me and I don’t know that it will ever happen again. Their ages right now mean they aren’t too cool to be show how happy they are that I’m home. It was, quite simply, a moment I will remember forever.
It’s not easy to leave your kids but it’s a lot easier when you have a spouse or partner who is just as much in love with your children as you are, as I do, because you don’t have to worry they are getting the attention they need. It’s a lot easier when you have a network of care-givers and neighbors and others, as I do, who will connect in your absence.
That said, I hope you, parent or not, have a moment when you get proof that you are loved so deeply and completely that it leaves someone speechless to see you again. I hope everyone who spends time laughing, tickling, coloring, cooking, scolding and wiping away tears gets a chance to leave for a bit so that when you return, you have a chance to experience the absolute proof, in a hug, kiss, pet, pat or poke or whispered “I love you”, that there is a little person who thinks you are the best thing in the whole world and is really, really happy you are home.