The last time I was home for a weekend, F was onto me within minutes of getting out of bed on Sunday. He sat on the bed while I packed a handful of things in my suitcase and puttered around grabbing this and that. By the time we sat down for breakfast the meltdown was inevitable.
As I discussed school, new friends and all manner of randomness with my parents, F sat at the breakfast table making noises and generally being rude. I politely asked him to please eat his breakfast, and a slur of mean words came out of his mouth. He received his first, second and final warning before I turned his chair around and told him he could sit in the corner until he was ready to be have.
"No, Mommy, NO! NO! NO! NO! I don't want to sit in the corner!" he wailed, as he threw his head back and tears ran down his little cheeks. I could feel my heart breaking, and I was torn between the importance of teaching him to be polite and the need to hold him in my arms and make the most of the three hours we had to spend together before I left. I crouched next to his chair, wiped his tears and held his hands. "This isn't how I want us to spend our morning," I started, only to be cut off by the most loaded sentence that kid has ever spoken.
"I don't want you to leave me again, Mommy."
I try not to get upset in front of F, whether it's anger or tears threatening to spill over my fascade of cool and collected. This time, though, I just couldn't. Sobbing, I tried to explain that I didn't want to leave him. Is it going to be this bad every time? Will it be a cycle of happy, sad, happy, sad for the next year?
This week, I'm spending a whole week with him: I came home on Monday, and he is coming back to Halifax with me on Wednesday - with Grammie in tow! We'll hang out at "Mommy's Halifax House" until Saturday (when I'll finally have real furniture for my dining room!), and then it will be another "see you later", another river of tears and a few hours of feeling sorry for myself.
I know I've made the right decision. I've never felt more home in all my life than I do when I sit amongst my classmates. For the first time since J and I began dating, I feel empowered and strong. And - Mommy guilt aside - I'm really loving having time to myself. I love going out for a walk whenever I want to, going to bed when I want, laying in the bathtub for hours and watching movies on the couch, but I miss F a lot.
Even the bad words, temper tantrums and occasional burst of rudeness.