I don't really have jet lag, but my blog seems to be suffering from it something terrible! ;)
It's been a mostly quiet re-entry from Singapore. Alex as thrilled to see me as I was him. I ended up sleeping on and off until 3:15pm on Saturday--probably too long, but I slept so little in Singapore that my body desperately needed it. Then Alex and I spent the rest of the day together: Hallmark Store, post office, dinner, even a movie. ("Gnomeo and Juliet" which was nothing to write home about...AND confirmed that I've become a complete romantic sap because even a terrible story of star-crossed gnomes made me tear up.) Then at home he curled up with his head on my lap and we talked until he fell asleep. A perfectly lovely day.
Today was...not so lovely. I woke up with a mild headache (which I still have) and the usual separated-but-living-together tension was particularly high. Joe announced that despite not having moved the heavy furniture, he was going to start sleeping at his apartment this week. Later in the day that morphed to "tonight." I was ecstatic. Over the moon. I've been longing for peace and a break from the tension...for beginning to get to know my house as mine. You know in "When Harry Met Sally" when Harry runs all the way to the party to tell Sally he loves her and says that "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to begin as soon as possible." (Or something like that...if I didn't have a headache, I'd look it up, but it's close enough, I assure you.) That's how I've felt...I want the rest of my life to begin and I feel like these last few weeks of co-existing have been a strange limbo. Don't get me wrong, I'm not standing still - I'm moving on in many ways and the future looks very bright, I know. But home has been a constant roller coaster.
Fast forward to tonight. Joe gathered up some things, kissed Alex good night and left at about 9:30. I could have moonwalked across the kitchen, I was so happy. (Well, I couldn't have because I still haven't fully taught myself how to moonwalk, but I'm getting there.) Quiet, calm, no walking on eggshells, no whispering on the phone. Just me and my boy.
My boy...he played Xbox for a little while (Battlestations: Pacific) and then when I told him it was time to go to bed, it all went downhill. He didn't want to go to bed, but I gently encouraged him so that he could stay on a regular sleep schedule and not be off-kilter when school starts back next week. He acquiesced and went to his room, only to return to the living room a few minutes later, dragging a pillow and his bean bag down the stairs with him. I started to say, "Sweet boy, you need to sleep in your bed," but before I could get the words out, I saw the tears in his eyes. He was missing his daddy, of course.
Now, I am 100% certain I have made the right decision, and it's right not just for me, but for Alex. But all the certainty and rationality in the world can't guard against the stabby feeling I get in my heart when I see my little boy hurting. I held him and snuggled and helped him build a comfortable little nest since that seemed to help him feel better. He wondered what Joe was doing, so I got the phone and helped him call (he doesn't quite know Joe's cell number by heart). And then I sat with him and rubbed his back until he fell asleep.
Luckily I'm pretty good at holding it together when I know Alex needs me to be strong. And somehow I manage to do it just long enough, and not a second longer. When I was sure he was asleep, it was like (forgive me, cliche monitors) a dam breaking. Just seeing tears in those little green eyes, the oh-so-slight quiver of that little chin was certainly more than enough to set me off. But even worse was knowing how gleeful I was about the very thing that was a source of pain for my child. Maybe because he's been so darned resilient these last few weeks I didn't know what to expect.
Looking back, I don't think there was anything to do differently. I was excited for this big milestone to occur. I didn't celebrate or even make a big deal of it in front of Alex. I was pretty quiet and subdued about it, really. And it has to happen sooner or later...and it's probably better that it's sooner because it gives Alex and I this week to begin getting used to being home alone together before I go away again next week for TED. (Plus there's the little matter of Mr. "Oh, I'm not Interested in Dating" having a match.com date on Tuesday, which I really don't care about, but it is a little unseemly to be going out on a date before you've even moved out of the house. But I digress...)
The moral of this story is that there are some things in life that can't be made easy. It's at times like this where I have to just have faith in the decisions I've made and focus on what lies ahead. And I know there is so much happiness ahead. I'm strong. Alex is strong. It's just a little bit of rough weather, and I know we can handle it.
(I'd love to acknowledge a source for the illustrated quote I opened this post with, but I really have no idea. I stumbled across it on Pinterest, which is a lovely, inspiring time suck if I've ever seen one. If you want an invite, post a reply or email me at onepinkee which of course is at @gmail and don't forget the .com part.)