I've been in Baltimore for the past few days at a work conference. It's the first time I've ever been away from Elian more than a few hours and saying goodbye was really hard. I knew it would be hard but then he had the audacity to wake up at 6 am when I was getting ready to leave and be really, really sweet and lovable. When I left on Wednesday morning I tiptoed in the bedroom to kiss Arnold goodbye. When I turned around he was sitting up blinking hopefully in our dark bedroom, adorably half asleep with messy hair and dinosaur jammies. I had to kiss his forehead, put him back to sleep and then leave him as he lay there cooing softly and clutching his blankie. It was torturous.
Yes this is the same kid that I fantasize about running away from. Parenting is like that.
So I'm writing this on Thursday night and it's so weird being without him. I feel like I'm missing a limb or something. I keep looking around wondering what it is I've forgotten. I'm so used to looking for him that I'm twitchy, my arms looking to hug my missing triceratops.
I spent the whole conference jabbering with this guy Abdul(not his real name). He has kids so I got to join the dork club of parents who just sit there for hours torturing virtual strangers with iPhone pics of their kids while they eat 2 dozen or so shrimp cocktail at the conference's welcome reception dinner. His kids were very cute but you know there is no one in the world as cute as my little dinosaur.
I always used to think it was weird that parents would whine about missing their kids when on work trips. I'd always think "Uh, aren't you happy to take a break? There are duvets here and an ice cream bar!" But now I know how it feels, they wiggle their way into your heart and even though they drive you absolutely insane, you start to love the crazy and when it's gone you miss it. So even though you are enjoying taking a bath before bed and waking up when you please and the open bar, you know that inside you a piece is missing. And you just sit there, listening to the key note speaker lost in thought about how sweet it will be to go home and hold your little one.
You stare at the power point slides flipping by as you wait anxiously for the moment to fill the dinosaur-shaped hole in your heart.