Ever since you left with your grandparents for a few days, I have been thinking of that sweet thing we do when we talk about the love in our family. I say, “How much do I love you?” And you say, “So much.” And I say, “For how long?” And you say, “Forever.” And I say, “Who loves you more than mommy?” And you say, “Nobody!” Then your dad says, “Hey, what about me?” And I say, “Just as much. But not more.”
Tomorrow when I pick you up, it’s probably one of the first things we’ll say.
When I take your for the first day at your new schools next week, it’ll be one of the last things we’ll say before I head back to my car.
And during your first days at your new school, I will think of you all day long, eagerly awaiting hearing how things went, hoping we chose well for you, hoping you are happy.
But I have a confession to make.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about since you left with your grandparents for a few days is, “Thank God they’re gone!”
And, “Oh, my God, let the fun begin!”
And, “Am I a terrible mother to not miss them? Who knew I wouldn’t miss them?
Shouldn’t I miss them?”
Now, the love thing? That’s WAY bigger than the ecstasy of having five nights off (FIVE NIGHTS! FIVE NIGHTS! FIIIIVEEEE NIIIIIIIIGGGHHHTTTS OF FREEDOM! WHOOOOO!), and it’s only because I know you are with two people who love you ALMOST as much as your dad I do that I can enjoy (REVEL IN! GLEEFULLY FROLIC! JUMP. UP. AND. DOWNNNN!) this week of respite. Knowing you are gardening, swimming, doing art projects, going to the park, singing while your grandmother plays guitar, baking, and getting endless attention means that you are getting all the things you need and more while I am working (going to happy hour, hosting book club, getting my eyebrows waxed, and spending ALONE TIME with daddy).
Why have I spent all week thinking of that sweet thing we do when we talk about the love in our family?
Well, someone asked me, “Don’t you miss them even a little?”
And I confess that for a brief moment I smiled and thought about telling them what I don’t miss. (Fighting. Food issues. Fighting. High School Musical and terrible television. Fighting. Clothes on the floor and trash in my car. Fighting. Driving for hours to go less than a dozen miles while you two sit in the back seat demanding things and fighting. Oh, did I mention fighting? Dysregulation, drama, perseveration, therapies, negativity, vigilance, and, of course, fighting...) But I didn't want to whine or bring them down, so I just smiled and their ridiculous ignorance and walked away.
The truth is, your dad and I want to miss you “even a little,” because we really do love you to the moon and back.
But this parenting thing has been much harder than we expected. You can blame autism, unrealistic expectations, baggage from my dismal childhood, or, go ahead, just blame me. Whatever; the truth is, we did not miss you even a little, no one single bit. It would probably take another five or ten days before we’d fully recover enough FROM you to begin to miss you. We will be happy to see you. Not as happy as we expect that your grandparents will feel when they see us arrive, of course, but glad to see your beautiful little faces.
Still, we’ve come to the sudden conclusion that you will be ready for sleepaway camp next year, and by next week I expect we will be scouring the Internet for a camp where they can handle kids with your particular diagnoses, allergies, food restrictions, behaviors, and all that FIGHTING you do when you are anywhere near each other...
Okay, so you might not be ready for sleepaway camp. But we definitely are, and you are GOING.
Yeah. Good times.
Love, so much, forever,
Your Cabbage Mama