I was talking today with one of my colleagues. She is the mommy of two beautiful children, aged five and three. I was asking her about her three year old daughter, who I haven’t seen for a couple of weeks.
“Oh, she’s great!”, my friend enthused. “She is sleeping all night in her own bed now!” I knew that this was a big step, as I remembered my friend talking about how tired she was after her little girl woke up several nights in a row wanting to “sleep with Mommy”.
“But she’s so manipulative!”, my friend went on with a smile. “Every night when I tuck her in she tells me ‘I woke up in the night, Mommy, and I was lonely. I wanted to see you, but you were so far away!” We laughed at the story of the little drama queen, but I felt a pang of guilt at the same time.
You see, I am trying very very hard not to do to my sons what that little girl is doing to her Momma. I miss my boys more than I can say. I haven’t seen my youngest, my “baby” for eight long weeks. I feel his absence like a toothache every single day. I dream of him. I hear his voice when I am all alone.
So when I send him an email, or a text, I have to be incredibly careful. It’s OK for me to say, “Can’t wait to see you! Hope you’re having fun!” It would be acceptable to say, “I’m so looking forward to having dinner with you!” or “I can’t wait to hear about school.”
What I can’t say is what I am thinking. I can’t say, “I wake up in the night, but you aren’t home any more. I am sad and I want to see you, but you are so far away!” I can’t say, “Come home!” or “I want you and your brother to sleep here and wake up to have waffles with me!”
Little Caroline is acting like a proper three year old girl when she tells her Mommy that she isn’t sure she wants to be big enough to sleep all alone at night.
I would be acting like a neurotic, overbearing crazy woman if I told my youngest child that I am not sure I want to be old enough to be the mother of three adults who live out on their own.
Katie, Matt and Tim! I can’t wait to see you! I’m so happy that you’re having fun and enjoying life! I’m looking forward to having dinner with you all this weekend.
And if I wake up and miss you tonight, I plan to settle down on the couch and hug a big dog.