Don't leave, mommy!

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"Mommy, sometimes it makes me sad when you go to work."

Ugh. Well, I knew this day would come eventually.

The day started off like any other Monday. My husband works from home twice a week, to catch up on paperwork and to shuttle Angel among preschool, daycare and speech therapy (mommy drives the kid-taxi on Fridays). With the hubs holding down the fort on Monday mornings,  I can actually start my week significantly less frazzled than in the past (who would have thought that speech therapy would be such a blessing? Mainly for my kid, but a clear bonus for mommy's sanity as well!).

I began the day with an early morning run, followed by breakfast and a little silly time with Victor-Roo-Roo. After a full weekend with no naps (more on that later in the week!), Angel was wiped and stayed in bed until close to 7:15 (a miracle at BadAssMama Central). My goal was to make the 7:32 train, but Angel woke up just as I was making my way down the stairs to head out the door. I didn't want to start my week without seeing the big boy, so I decided to push to the 7:50 train. We had a promising start. Angel woke up dry, was unusually un-whiny and gave me a big hug. When I asked him to be a big boy and take off his pajamas so we could get dressed for school, we headed down the slippery slope to cranky town.

The downward spiral went a little something like this:




Me: Mommy has to go to work, baby. Please be a good helper and take off your PJs.

Angel: I don't want to.

Me: Angel, please be a big boy and take off your pajamas, please (in my head, excessive politeness would result in faster compliance).

Angel: Is it pajama day? I want it to be pajama day.

Me (at increased volume): Angel, we don't have time for this. You have to get dressed for big boy school, please put take off your PJs so we can get dressed now, please. Mommy has to GO TO WORK.

Angel: WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

At this point, my husband (ever the peace-maker) tried to intervene - assuring me that it would be much easier if he got Angel dressed and I could leave for my train. It was 7:27, and his offer was tempting. But no, I wanted to spend some quality time with my son. And clearly my definition of quality time was screaming at the top of my lungs at a morning-cranky-four-year-old.

Rather than add to my son's impending therapy bill, and because I was simply reaching the end of my rope, I not-so-deftly informed Angel that mommy was going to work. I may have said something like I was leaving because he was not being a good listener. But,  it sounds so much worse when I put it in writing, so let's just say that I told him goodbye and gave him a big kiss on the forehead. However it went down (I honestly can't distinguish between reality and my revisionist historical take on the morning), Angel got the message loud and clear (as extraordinarily perceptive preschoolers are apt to do). As I turned to go down the stairs in somewhat of a huff, Angel cried out at the top of his lungs, "MOMMY, DON'T LEAVE ME!!!!!!"

Shit.

Now my son thinks that I will abandon him if he doesn't listen.

After picking up my face from the floor, I gave him a big hug and gently prodded him to finish taking off his PJs and get dressed for preschool. We made it downstairs and even shared a few laughs, a big hug and several rounds of "I love you" before I ultimately headed out the door. (Believe it or not, I made the 7:50 train).

Rather than spend my entire morning commute flogging myself for once again screwing with my kids' fragile self-esteem (take that, Tiger Mother!), I used my morning sprint to the train to actually remind myself that I had a chance to start over when I got home. That the morning rush ended with smiles, and the early tears and fear of abandonment would surely be forgotten the moment I walked out the door.

No such luck.

I came home from work a bit later than usual, but still in time to read bedtime stories. After rubbing Victor's back, I came in to spend a little quiet time with Angel since the morning was such a cluster. After talking about his favorite part of the day, and the fact that he was angry that he had to come upstairs for bath (this kid is really getting the hang of expressing his emotions), Angel matter-of-factly informed me that sometimes it makes him sad when I go to work. He told me that he missed me all day, and asked if I missed him.

Sob.

Me: All the time, baby. I think about you all the time when I'm gone. But you know what? Even though I miss you, Mommy really likes her job just like you like your big boy school.

Angel: Sometimes, I don't want to go to big boy school.

Me (giggling): Sometimes mommy doesn't want to go to work either. But I love you all the time, even when I'm not here.

Angel (whispering in my ear): I love you, mommy.

I love you too, baby...
tfab said...

*SOB* I love y'all, too

bionicdee said...

Awwww...*sniffle*

Maria Bellos Fisher said...

I can totally relate to telling him you'd leave because he wasn't listening. You made me sit back and think about the blaming things I say to my daughter, and reminded me of how fragile her self-esteem is. I really have to watch that. You also reminded me that I do have chances to make it better. Thank you.

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