My daughter woke me up again today, asking if she could use the master bathroom to pee.
“Why can’t you use your bathroom?” I asked, stupidly.
“Because it’s dark in there.”
“Ella, you have a light. Turn it on.”
“So I can go pee in your potty then?”
If you read my Day Two blog yesterday, you know what that phrase can launch, so I just rolled over and told her yes. After not falling asleep (again) until after 2 AM, I was in no position to argue. She did her thing and washed her hands, then came and touched my head.
Apparently daddy’s hair is the best way to dry off recently washed hands.
She asked to watch TV, and I relented (again, no condition to argue), hoping for just a few more minutes of sleep. I didn’t get them. Jon woke up in full voice, and my heart almost exploded into pieces.
“Momma? Momma come? Where Momma?”
His little voice was so sweet, so full of love and hope for the appearance of his mother. The way the words tumbled out of his mouth, I could just hear the ache he had to be held by Rachel. I knew the feeling.
I hopped out of bed and pulled on some “daddy gear” (clothes that can be obliterated) and hustled to the kitchen to make his milk. Got it right on the first try (much better than yesterday’s attempt) and took it into his room. He looked at me and his face just fell; his mother had not walked through the door, and his heart was broken.
To his credit he didn’t cry. His little lips quivered and he sniffed a couple of times, but then he reached his arms out for me, his consolation prize, and he began his favorite game of late.
“The light. Let daddy change your diaper.”
“The light. Hold still, we need to get you changed.”
“It’s the light, dude. Will you please quit wiggling around so much? I need to get this diaper off you.”
At that point, I just quit playing. He shrugged (literally) and grabbed his milk, pounding it down like a fat man running a 5K. I popped him up on his feet and he immediately pointed to the door.
Once I set him on the ground, he was off like a shot, calling for Rachel. He found a half-decent substitute in Ella (until they got into a fight over a blanket; that doesn’t really happen with Mommy), but his desire to see his mom never went away. Even when my dad came to pick him up, and knocked on the door, Jon turned at the sound and said, “Mommy! Yay!” Unlike with me, however, he was not at all disappointed to see his Poppy (what the kids call my dad) and ran to him with open arms.
But even outside, he called for Rachel and looked for her in the garage, as if she were simply hiding. It was sweet, but heartbreaking.
Meanwhile, Ella has found a new game: “Count The Days Until Mommy Returns.” It’s fairly simple – you just ask what day it is, get the answer, and count the number of days from that day until Saturday out loud. Then announce the number of days left like the lead launch commander at Canaveral and chirp with joy. Then start the whole process over again five minutes later as if suffering from trauma-grade amnesia while Daddy slowly loses his mind. It’s fun.
So less chaos this morning (I even managed to do dishes and clean the kitchen counter! The floor still looks like a rodeo ring, but hey – baby steps) and my kids, who are very very sweet, are starting to embrace their mother’s absence by clinging to the hope of her return. As a pastor, I’m sure that illustration will come up in a future sermon, but for now, I need to get some sleep. Thank the Lord for a quiet office…