Henry: Mom, you're coming to school to watch me play soccer in the Olympics, right?
Me: Uh, not sure I can make it back to school in time to see it this morning, Buddy. I might be late. Or I might not make it. I have some things I have to do at the house before 10:00. But if I don't make it today I'll see you run the relay on Thursday, okay?
Henry: Well, I'll be looking for you today.
Me: Yeah, but honey I might not be there. Just in case...
Henry: I'll see you at school, Mom. And if you have a shirt with England's flag on it, make sure you wear that.
Re-entry into real life is always difficult for me for a few days after residency because of fatigue and an overloaded brain and emotions that won't neatly shut off on the highway between Palm Springs and Sacramento. It's a slower process. I'm caught in between for a while.
This boy is good at pulling me back, though. It's always harder to get to Henry on the phone--he's prone to distractedness and won't often do more than sit in silence or offer some mm-hmms when I have him on the line from Palm Springs. But I called the house about ten minutes before I got home on Sunday night and he answered. His words tumbled out of his mouth faster than he could control them. He couldn't keep it together anymore because he just needed his mom.
He was so excited to see me when I walked in the door, I thought he was going to come out of his skin. That night he squeezed me in our front room--completely without embarrassment or awareness of feeling that accompanies that sort of thing as we get older. I feel lucky to have a kid who is still young enough to love and to miss and to hug without shame. It's lovely to feel needed. It makes the transition easier, too.