After our visit with my sister’s family, David stayed an extra week at my mom and dad’s for some extended cousin time.
Maybe you read that sentence and thought, “Oh! How wonderful for David!”
If that is the case, I need to warn you, you might not relate to the rest of this post.
Here’s why: there are certain things that some moms do all the time, but when I do them, I can’t sleep at night.
It’s like vacuuming. I have a friend who vacuums her home every single day. But me? When I set out to vacuum there are always toys on the floor, and the vacuum is so unwieldy and then you’ve got that obnoxious cord. It’s all so stressful, I just end up eating a cheese stick instead. Another example is leaving my kid for a week with my parents. This is a very normal thing that people do all the time. But I’m no good at it. Most of my friends know this about me, my mom knows this about me, and if you’ve read this blog once or twice you might know it, too.
I tried to be very, very chill about it because the rational part of me knew he would be fine, and because the absolute last thing I want to do is project my insanity onto my children. When we said goodbye, I was cool and confident. And maybe that’s what tipped David off? Because I’m never cool and confident — this was a version of his mother he had never seen before! Where is the disorganized yelling??
I hugged David and told him I loved him, and he offered me the cat that he sleeps with — a Beanie Baby he named Eyeball. “I don’t need this, Mommy. You can sleep with Eyeball if you get sad.” It was a sweet gesture, but I told him to hang on to Eyeball, just in case. “It would make me feel better to know he was with you,” I said.
While David was gone, so many of my friends told me that their most precious childhood memories are of time they spent with their cousins at their grandparents house. I heard that over and over.
I want that for David.
But as his mother, the woman who endured 41 weeks of pregnancy and 14 hours of natural childbirth, cloth-diapered him for nearly three years, and suffered a bloody nose after a particularly raucous toddler tantrum, I reserve the right to get a little wistful.
All week my mom sent me pictures of David hunting salamanders, or working a puzzle, or sacked out on the couch watching TV — always, always surrounded by his cousins.
I knew I would miss David, that I would be very ready for him to be home, but I was not prepared for Mary Virginia’s response — she truly missed her brother. She plays the emotional, dramatic middle child role really well, but this was genuine sadness.
One day she was feeling sad and Tom gave her a hug and said, “Mary, it’s really sweet to see how much you love David. He’s a good brother, isn’t he?”
She suddenly burst into tears and cry-shouted, “HE’S THE BEST BROTHER IN THE WORLD!”
David had a great time. He came home calling all of us “Abram” and I didn’t even correct him. It took over a week for him to to detox from all the fun he had and reacclimate to our normal, boring, grocery-store-and-doctor’s-appointments life.
“Mommy?” David said to me. “We have two kinds of cousins. Cousins we live near, and cousins we miss.”