I love words.
Big words, little words, strong words and dirty words.
I just love them all. I love writing them and speaking them, learning them and teaching them – well, some of them. I consider words to be my playground, my medium with which to create. Like many people, I’ve been both empowered by and crushed beneath a word. As a parent, I’ve spent the last two and a half years choosing words carefully, waiting anxiously to hear a certain four words that every Mother can’t wait to hear: I love you, Mommy.
I remember the first time I heard it. F was in the bathtub, and I had been sitting on the floor of the bathroom while he played. I had told him I loved him, and a moment or two later he looked at me and said it back. I was so excited I started to cry and laugh all at once. I even managed to get it on video with my iPhone. Since that day back in April, F has learned many words, some of which I wish he would unlearn. He has learned how to use his words to convey his feelings, his wants and create play stories for himself and his toys. Since that first “I love you, Mommy”, there have been thousands of those perfect moments, from the impromtu hugs to the tearful learning of lessons.
There are two words that I dread hearing now, two words I never thought could possibly hold so much heartache: Good-bye. No amout of “I love you” or hugs can dull the pain my Mommy heart feels when F leaves and we have to say “good-bye”. I always try to tell him I’ll see him soon, or “Peace Out” to lighten my heavy heart, but it’s impossible to lie to yourself in that moment. I stood outside in the cold today watching my parents driving away with F, and I felt tears drip off my cheeks and onto my jacket. I could still hear his cries for Mommy broken by his sobbing as the truck pulled out of the parking spot. In all my life, I’ve never felt so helpless.
The rest of my evening will be spent inside with the dog. I finally have couches and I can catch up on some reading and TV. We’ll go for a walk at bedtime, and I’ll climb into a big empty bed and think of him. He’ll have forgotten about his sadness when we said goodbye and be excited to see his toys and be back in his home with Grammy and Grampy. I’ll ride out my week away puttering at odd jobs at the apartment, hanging out with my classmates and friends new and old, and I’ll anxiously wait for Friday night when I get home and hear “Mommy, I’m happy to see you!”.
Those little words will make every heartache and tear worth it.