“See you later, mummy” he used to say, helpfully informing me that he intended to be off somewhere much more exciting than simply staying at home with me as he picked up his backpack and headed for the door. Sometimes he’d add over his shoulder “Gonna work.” the way his father does. Goes to work that is, not dismissively tossing greetings over his shoulder.
All this was before he actually HAD to take his backpack and head off for a day, not to work – just to be clear, we are not monsters, I’m talking about a day at day care. Since leaving the house for the day now has some basis in reality, it no longer a matter for childish games.
It is amazing the amount of verbal exchange that can be implied in the screams of your child as you make your never rapid enough getaway from the scene of the crime.
“Why would you do this to me?”
“How can you leave me when all I want is to be in your arms.”
“What kind of a degenerate human being walks away from their child in this much distress”
“How dare you leave me here, you evil abandoner. You call yourself my mother and insist that you love me but if you did you wouldn’t do this to me.”
“How could you? I trusted you!”
These are the words I imagine in his screams as I leave. Perhaps he isn’t really thinking these thing but the same way an email written in uppercase can just never be taken as polite, his screams at my back are not polite conversation, they are accusations from a child whose heart is breaking.
This morning he turned to me over breakfast and asked very nicely “I want to stay at home today please mummy. I don’t want to go to day care.” That was when I destroyed all hope and with it all his dreams for the future of the day.
“I’m sorry but we are going to day care today.” His face contorts and a hardly human squeak emanates from the deepest recesses of his soul. There are no words for my betrayal.
There was a time that as soon as I collected him he would reassure me of my choices and tell me excitedly that “Had a good day mummy” but the last couple of times I have collected him he hasn’t said those magic words. In fact the very last time I collected him he didn’t say anything at all, he wouldn’t even look at me until his hunger drove him to it.
People tell me it gets better. I’m trying to believe them.
*Image from http://www.snorgtees.com/see-you-later-alligator