Four words that haunt me.
Scarlet went to stay with her grandparents in Connecticut this weekend. It had been planned for over two months because it was an open time for them and also, because we were celebrating a big birthday with Scarlet’s Massachusetts grandparents. (She also has Jersey grandparents) Another big thing is that she wants this time with them and they with her. Weekends in June are already booked and then there will be a newborn baby and life will get crazy for a little while. It was also a last chance for Cassidy and I to have a weekend alone. We didn’t decide if it would be one night or two away. It was flexible.
We actually decided today that she’s staying the two nights and we get her back tomorrow. I had been ok for a long time until yesterday hit. She has been away for two nights before. Then Cassidy went to Iceland and Scarlet had trouble in daycare during that time. That…weakened me. To be honest, late May seemed so far away for so long that when it was suddenly time for her to go yesterday, I was not prepared. I packed her bags, feeling a bit weepy. She knew she was going away but couldn’t quite grasp how it was all going down – were her grandparents coming here to stay? Were they bringing their dog? Was she going to their house? Was I going there with her? So many questions. The TV was on in the background and her eyes kept straying to it in between questions. Hers and mine. I told her she was going away. She asked me if I was coming with her. I said that I wasn’t. She thought about this and then looked at the TV. Then turned back to me and asked:
“Am I coming back?”
Cue the start of long built-up tears. I looked away and told her that she was, of course, coming back. Of course. She wasn’t even concerned. She looked back at the TV and that was that.
I left the room and collapsed into tears. And really, I hadn’t cried in ages. I had such a stressful time of last week. My grandparents were both very sick and in different hospitals. My mom spent her birthday crying and booking a plane ticket to help them for the next morning. It broke my heart to hear her crying so much on her birthday. It broke my heart to think about being 98 and 100 in SEPARATE hospitals, worried and longing to be with the person they’ve been married to FOR OVER 70 YEARS. So my mom went to rescue them. She’s really good at rescuing. Four generations of Kaplan/Klein/Bowmans, and she’ll be strong for each one. But it was her birthday and it’s her parents and she’s my parent and I’m a parent. And whoa.
“Am I coming back?” was my downfall. First cry since my last trigger – seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Stress? Hormones? Normal reactions to life? All of the above all at once. I couldn’t stop crying for a very long time. Eventually I had to re-hydrate and make sure I didn’t get a crying headache. Every time I’d think I was fine I’d think back on those words and I’d almost lose it again. I say almost because I was nearly always out in public when the four words repeated on me.
For her, it could have been about opposites. Going away vs. coming back. She wasn’t bothered when she asked me if she was coming back and she wasn’t bothered when her grandmother came to pick her up for the trip. After calling her grandparents before writing this blog post I learned, what I already knew, which was that she hasn’t been bothered in the last 24 hours she’s been there, because my kid has many virtues and confidence and security are two of them. Did she really think she was being sent away? I doubt it. Or maybe she did think that and didn’t care! However my heart breaks to think that my kid would wonder if she was ever coming back. She didn’t and doesn’t wonder that. And still my heart was broken.
There is a lot of pressure on my heart. There is a lot of pressure on Cassidy and me in these last few weeks..financially, physically, emotionally, preparedly. (I made up that word) So much has to happen. We have to prepare rooms and beds and clothing and swings and bottles and pacifiers and more. I have to keep myself healthy and aware of my body. I have to..give birth. We’re going to love another human so much it hurts enough to write posts like this about our first human that we love that much. We are going to feel this way for someone else. I will write more blog posts with tears streaming down my eyes.
It’s like a dam breaking. All of that pressure…So I cry a little. I eat a diet so healthy that my first rich dessert in seven weeks last night was a fail. I could only do two bites. I hold onto Scarlet tighter than ever, but I also let her go because she needs it and the grandparents need it and I need it. “Am I coming back?” Hell yeah, you are. In the blink of an eye, really.
And so it will begin: the achy, heart-expanding love of another newborn mingled with the time-tested, intensely fierce love of a toddler.
(We get another one. We are so lucky I could scream)