Oh, just me? Well, that’s nice. Nice for you anyway. Allow me to share my little anecdote anyway. Misery loves an audience.
My family makes it a habit of eating meals together as often as we can. The pandemic helped cement that routine (frantic runs through the drive through on the way to soccer came to an abrupt stop). For the most part, we’ve managed to stick to it.
This past Sunday, while we’re eating lunch, I say to my boys, “I have a great idea! Why don’t we play UNO after lunch? Doesn’t that sound fun?”
My seven-year-old smirks. “Nah, that sounds lame.”
I gasp. Lame? This, coming from the child who wants to be Charizard for Halloween?
(That’s a Pokemon in case you didn’t know. And consider yourself lucky.)
“That hurt my feelings, sweetheart.”
My oldest, at the ripe old age of ten, leans over to me and says, “To be fair Mom, he didn’t say you were, lame. He said your idea is lame.”
Thank you for clarifying that.
Through a large mouthful of mac ‘n cheese, my seven-year-old explains, “I’d rather just go play at the neighbor’s. Is that fine?”
“Of course it’s fine!” I cringe at the shrillness of my voice, a sound that says everything is not fine, you’re my baby, why are you doing this to me, don’t you love me?!?!
Meanwhile, somewhere above, < insert deity of choice > shakes their head. Are you kidding me? I thought you asked for this. I’m giving you peace and quiet. What more do you want from me, lady?
Sigh. It’s weird, isn’t it? How you can want something and not want something in the same breath? So often I’ve pleaded for a moment’s quiet, to stop hearing, “Mom” shouted at various decibels. But then, when the house is silent, it feels so…empty. I always knew this day would come: the day my kids would rather hang out with their friends than with me. I just didn’t realize it would be so soon.
I never got the chance to say goodbye to the little boy my son once was.
Later that night, as I’m tucking the boys into bed, I reach over to hug my seven-year-old, and he immediately pulls away. “I don’t want a hug!”
The stab to my heart is swift and deep.
“Okay,” I whisper, defeated. “A story?”
He ponders this. “Yes…but I get to pick it out!” He takes his time grabbing a book, then plops on the bed beside me, resting his head on my shoulder. I lean over, inhaling deeply.
Maybe he’s not gone just yet.
When have your little ones broken your heart? Seriously, I can’t be the only one!
Featured Image Photo Credit: Shimelle Laine on Flickr