Knife, Meet Heart

Last week, I went for drinks after work with some co-workers. We went to a dive bar and drank pints of luke-warm beer and ate greasy, delicious food. Until I looked at my watch – 7:45 p.m.

“Guys, I gotta go!” I remarked as I threw some cash down on the table and sprinted for the door. Hollering, “It’s almost bedtime!” over my shoulder. They knew what I meant. My little man was about to go to bed and I refused to miss tucking him in. It’s sorta my thing.

Luckily, the bar is close to our house, so I made it home in plenty of time. When I walked in the door, no lie, the kid comes running straight for me, yelling, “Mommy! You came home!”

After laughing really hard and scooping him up in my arms, I told him of course I came home. I’ll always come home. I had hoped that reassured him a little bit. But apparently not.

I am usually fortunate enough to come home over the lunch break to see Riley. It’s one of the many perks of living really, really close to work.

Over the last week, he has exclaimed, “You came home!” to me several times, and I’ve laughed every time and reminded him that yes, I will always come home.

But today on lunch, as I was washing off his high chair tray after we enjoyed lunch together, he came up and hugged my legs.

“You not leave me anymore,” he stated.

“You don’t want me to lift you anymore?” I repeated, hoping and praying that that was what he had actually said.

“You not LEAVE me anymore,” he repeated, a little too clearly. Damn these two-and-a-half-year olds!

Again, I scooped him up and cuddled him as much as was humanly possible in business casual attire.

“Buddy, I have to go to work because I’m a grown-up and that’s what grown-ups do. But I will always come home to you, I promise,” I said.

“Riley come to work too?” he asked. Ugh, really kid, you’re killing me here!

“When you’re a grown-up you’ll go to work too. But I’ll always come home. I promise.”

“You promise?”

“Yes, bud.”

When I left to get back to work for the afternoon, he said, “Love you Mommy. See you later!” like it was fine. But all afternoon I sat at my desk feeling like a little chunk of my heart was missing. Sometimes being a working mom sucks. And 2-year olds know EXACTLY what they’re doing.

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