Last week I mentioned how the Bug cried when I brought him back to his mom .. and how that threw me for a loop, seeing it was a new development.
This week wasn't such a shock, tho yesterday, again, brought more goodbye tears. (The Bug rarely cries. Tears are rarer still.) Yet surprisingly, I'm still struggling to get a handle on this new twist.
Everybody says it's normal, nothing to be concerned about. Intellectually, I agree. So why does it still have such a haunting effect on me?
My rock-climbing buddy (Tom) says it's due to the trouble that kids the Bug's age have understanding the concept of time, and that when you leave, they don't understand they'll see you again in only a few days. For them it feels like forever.
"I'd like to tell you it'll get better," Tom said, "but it's likely to get worse, first."
Yesterday I had all these cool plans for the evening, after the Bug's mom came to pick him up. After they left however (after the tears), I found myself disoriented, depressed, feeling waylaid, staring off into space .. struggling to get a handle on how to deal with this... Ugh, I don't even know what you'd call it.
"It rips you apart," Tom said. "That's exactly how it feels," I said. It felt good to know I'm not the only one who has felt this way.
Amid the anguish, it's easy to feel like we're the only one. But in reality, any parent who has ever had to drop off a kid at daycare, and leave while they're holding out their arms, crying, "Don't go," knows what I'm talking about. It's a horrible feeling. Emotionally paralyzing.
••• today's entry continues below •••
If I was a drinker, I definitely woulda poured myself a stiff one. (It was that kind of discomfort » persistent, gnawing, confusing.) But I'm not. So I went to the gym instead. Working out is the only way I know to deal with these kinds of feelings.
I went straight to the dead-lifts (which supposedly recruit more muscles than any other single exercise). And yes they felt good - real good. I kept doing deadlifts (adding weight each set) 'til I could do no more.
Then I moved to other exercises, using different muscles, and continued until I was spent .. 'til I had no energy left to feel anything. It worked. Afterwards I laid in the sauna until I turned into a pile of mush.
Today I don't feel half bad, considering. (It's the good kind of sore.) Kinda numb, which is nice .. cuz that means I don't feel much of anything. (Tom wants me to go for another bike ride today.)
Reality Opposite Expectations
I should note that, the day before the Bug's mom took him on vacation, she called to ask if I wanted to stop by and take him for the afternoon. "Sure," I said. But when I arrived, he didn't want to go with me. Yet that didn't bother me. Not one bit. (You'd think, normally, it would, right?)
I mean, I had no problem with that at all. "He's happy here at his mom's," I thought. "He has all these cool toys to play with. Great." Long as he's happy, I'm happy.
Let me close today on a positive note, by sharing a snapshot from my day with the Bug .. seeing that, yesterday, he laughed more than he ever has.
At our local taco joint, he was laying back on one of the bench-seats there, raising one leg, saying, "Smell my foot, dada."
He learned this from when I tried to get him to take a bath last week. Of course, his feet never stink, but I would sniff one foot and make a face (which seemed to bring him great pleasure) and tell him how he needed a bath.
So while we waited for our tacos to arrived, we played a version of the stinky-foot game. And while he laughed, I tickled his belly, which got him laughing so hard he could hardly breathe. (He has a great laugh.)
After lunch, we headed for "the baño" (bon-yo). There he went poops (as usual). But I had to go, too, during which he made a face and asked, "What's that smell?"
"That's dada's poops," I said, matter-of-factly. "Smells like perfume, huh?"
"Dada's poops are stinked up!"
"I don't like it," he said, scrunching-up his cute little nose. "Dada's poops are stinked up!"
I exploded with laughter. (Couldn't help it. He caught me off-guard. It's too weird, after changing hundreds of his poopy diapers, having a 2-year-old tell you » "You stink, dad.") The Bug appeared to enjoy my reaction, and repeated his comment several more times.
Then he said seriously, "Dada, I have to tell you somethin'." He held my face between his little hands and put his nose right next to mine, so our faces were barely inches apart.
"Dada's poops are stinked up!" he said, emphasizing the stinked up part. Of course, this cracked me up even more. (He's too cute for words.)
Back in the restaurant, while I retrieved from our table the books and things we'd brought along for lunch, the Bug said "Adios, amigos," to the staff (.. like he always does. They all have kids his age. The girl there calls him Guapo, which means handsome.)
As we were leaving, another girl, who I've chatted with several times, walked over and told me she lived nearby, and that she had lots of cool play-stuff in her backyard (jungle-gym, etc.), and that I was welcome to stop by with the Bug whenever I wanted (even if she wasn't home).
While she scribbled her address on a piece of paper, the Bug shouted, "Dada's poops are stinked up!"
She tried not to laugh .. but couldn't help herself. The whole restaurant turned to see who Mr. Stinky Poops was. "Yours poops don't exactly smell like roses, either," I called out, as he ran off giggling.
How does that saying go? .. "Out of the mouths of babes... "