My beautiful wife left last night for the very first time as a mother, to go to visit a friend in the United Kingdom whose son is being bar mitzvahed. This is a very old and dear friend and my wife really wanted to be there to celebrate the occasion.
Because of limited financial resources these days, she went solo. Yes…I miss her. But clearly, my two young daughters miss her more (as if that’s possible!)
The drama started when my eldest daughter came home from school yesterday as my wife was getting her self organized to get to the airport. The water works began. The hugging and the “don’t go” antics were in high gear. Then “junior” came home from school and the emotion was kicked into overdrive. At one point, I told them that this was making me feel like “chopped liver”; that it was clear that if I went away for 5 days to some place (even some place overseas), that there wouldn’t be as much pomp and circumstance about me leaving.
They just looked at me and turned back to my wife and continued to clutch and hold onto her for dear life!
After being able to weasel my way in, I gave my wife my own little hug and kiss (I have to admit that, I too, got a bit weepy) and told her to leave because clearly, “parting is such sweet sorrow”.
Then the texting and the phone calls began. My older daughter has her own phone and she is the queen of texting. She had her own dialog with my wife as she waited at the airport to take off. Having to get there well in advance, the communication went on and on until she finally was set to take off.
The weepiness continued…but then, magically, it stopped! The business of life got back to normal as my elder daughter returned to Facebook and my younger daughter continued with episodes of “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody” and “Hannah Montana”. I, had a big glass of red wine.
I was not looking forward to this trip. My wife and I have never really been away from our children for any length of time since they were born. Yes, the occasional day trip or periodic over-nighter. But anything beyond that….never. Yes, we know we only have ourselves to blame. Yes, we both remember our respective parents taking vacations without us…leaving us in the care of others. We survived. My wife felt the same way about her going away: the kids would survive.
However, she wouldn’t be here to deal with the wrath of her departure. While I aim to be a committed and fully engaged father who is well versed in the goings-on of my children’s lives….I also know that nothing beats the unconditional love of a mother. Mothers are soft, warm, smell good and know the right amount of affection and attention to give you to make you feel better.
This time, the girls would have to settle for their big, tall, wonderfully handsome, yet equally nice smelling dad to help them through the separation of mom as she ventured off across the pond.
All things being equal…I did pretty well. They fell asleep ok (other than my older daughter waking up at 2:30 am to send my wife a text because she knew she would be in the London airport at that time). They listened to me as they performed their nighttime and morning rituals…but without mommy yelling at them to brush their teeth and get dressed.
We have three more sleeps to go until my wife returns home to us. I have to admit that it hasn’t gone as bad as I thought….but it ain’t over ‘til its over!
What does this mean? Does this mean that I am just as important to my children as my wife? Does it mean that I can supply them with enough love and comfort as their mother? Does it mean that my kids are maturing and can handle stuff like this? Does it mean that my wife can go away again for another 5 days?
I think yes (and no to the last one…next time its my turn!!)
If you have any of your own experiences to share about infamous departures from home, please share.