"Nicholas! Use your walking feet please!" I shout as my son runs full speed down the hallway of his school. He's not listening and he's headed for the door. My hands are full of his artwork and other papers, his hat, and my daughter is on my hip. Clearly running after him is out of the question.
"Wait for Mommy!" I call out sharply, and several parents and staff turn to look. I finally make it to the door where he is waiting for me. . . then he takes off full speed across the full parking lot. Great. I'm gritting my teeth trying to keep my composure while at the same time walk/running and losing my grip on my daughter. I drop everything but the baby. OK. While I stoop to pick up my dropped things I've got my eyes on him, but if someone's not paying attention and pulls out of their parking spot too fast. . . I don't even want to continue that thought.
We make it to our truck and he disappears around the other side. I think my teeth are fused together from me grinding them so hard. I walk around, let my son in, and strap the baby into her seat. I get into the driver's seat, take a deep breath, (he knows better than to do what he just did) and let him have it.
There was the beginning of the end of the day and it did not get much better from there. It was filled with my son blatantly not listening to a word I said, whether I asked, stated, or told. It's days like these, when I know my husband is not coming home at the end of the day, that my patience wears thin and it truly is a conscience effort to maintain my composure. And in order to be honest, I have to admit that my composure does go by the wayside sometimes. But most of the time I just try to remember that my 4 year old is working hard at searching for his place in the world of confusion of his daddy being here, then gone, then here, then gone. . .
Tonight while I made dinner, my heart was heavy, and my head hurt like someone had smashed it between two cinder blocks. I knew, just knew that meal time was going to be a battle and frankly I didn't have the energy for it. But I donned my armor and rallied. I got a full dinner in the kid. Whoopie.
If he finishes his dinner I give him a bag of fun sized M&M's. Yes indeed. I have resorted to bribing my child to eat his food. In true form he took 25 minutes to eat 15 M&M's. As my teeth started to grit again due to the fact that I needed to get him to bed so I could have some "me" time to decompress from the day, I heard it. My sweet little boy's voice.
"Mommy? Do you want one of my m-and-m's?" I look over at him. He's holding one bright fuschia candy in his little hand. I take it and pop it into my mouth.
"How did you know Mommy needed some chocolate?" I ask him smiling.
"Because I do too." He says and smiles. Then he pauses and says, "I will give Daddy the pink ones."
"But Daddy's not here remember? He has to sleep at work for a little while longer." I can see the wheels turning in his head. He gets up from the couch, and runs into the kitchen. I can hear him open the drawer where his dishes are kept. He comes back a minute later. He has put all the light pink M&M's in one of his plastic bowls, and I notice that he's not eating them. "Whats wrong with the pink ones?" I ask him.
"I'm saving them for Daddy."
Instantly I no longer needed time for me because I wanted to spend the rest of the night in that moment. In that one bowl of 4 pink M&M's that my son was saving for his dad was all of the unconditional love and trust in his heart. I picked up my little boy and hugged him so tight. His Daddy is always in the front of his mind, missing him, wanting to be with him, and lately wanting to be just like him.
Tonight I spent some extra time on bedtime. We read an extra story, and sang an extra song. Tonight I spent a little extra time filling up my son's heart with the love he's saving for his Daddy in those pink M&M's.