While you were away, we drove home from Dallas that Saturday with an empty backseat. We had snapped your carseat into Papaw’s truck before waving goodbye in the parking lot of the restaurant you now love because your twisted-sense-of-humor grandparents taught you to call it “WOW! WHAT a BUR-ger!” On our way back home to Fayetteville, we stopped at the outlet malls in Allen, Texas and stayed as long as we wanted — just because we could. We wandered. We shopped. We dawdled. And we didn’t have you to chase around or remind us that it was snack time.
While you were away, there was no one standing in front of me, wiggling with impatience during church Sunday morning. I went the whole service never having to bend down and whisper a reminder of big boy manners into someone’s ear.
While you were away, your Daddy and I ate our Sunday dinner at a leisurely 7:30pm instead of our usual, Colt-friendly 5:45. And when we were done, no one had to break out a DustBuster.
While you were away, I had no one to refresh my kissing hand each morning. If I needed a kiss throughout the day, I just had to hope there was enough oomph left in the last one you gave me.
While you were away, I stayed at work too late. When I went back to work after you were born almost six years ago, I set myself a “kiddo alarm” to go off each workday because I didn’t trust myself not to get wrapped up in something and completely forget to go get you from daycare. It’s still there. The kiddo alarm. And this week, after the second day of ignoring the kiddo alarm — I turned it off. No kiddo alarm was necessary while you were away.
While you were away, I had an all-too-quiet, uneventful ride home from work with no one chattering from the backseat about Pokémon or singing me this week’s lesson from music class.
While you were away, Mamaw and Papaw sent us snippets of your Spring Break adventures via iPhone videos and photos. We could tell in your voice you were having fun and they were utterly wearing you out each day. We watched the videos over and over, enjoying your giggles and storytelling even while you were away.
While you were away, I had no one to check on before I went to bed. Every night I would walk past your empty bedroom — no one to listen to a bedtime story, no ears to kiss, no one to tuck in. I could’ve called, “Nighty night, my darling duckling!” but there would have been no one to call back, “Nighty night, my precious piglet!”
While you were away, we missed our little buddy. It was the first time you’d been away when we weren’t also away. It was awfully quiet around here.
While you were away, we decided we really, really like how your messy, noisy little self rounds out our little family. We think we’ll keep you.