I just received a call from Richard who told me after I left to take Nic down to his school bus, Emma went into her room and began crying. When Richard asked her what was wrong, she said, “I miss Mommy. See Mommy tomorrow.”
For the past two nights I have been out, not coming home until well after Emma has already gone to sleep. It is unusual for me to go out two nights in a row and clearly it made Emma sad. While Nic is now at the age when he looks forward to our evenings out, so much so that he offered Richard $100.00 of his own hard earned allowance (generous and thoughtful boy that he is), “so you and Mommy can go out on a date,” Emma does not share his enthusiasm.
This morning Emma appeared in our bedroom at 5:28AM. ”Emmy, it’s too early. You have to go back to your bed.”
Emma pointed out the window and protested, “But it’s light out!”
She was technically correct. The first morning light was just beginning to show itself and though it wasn’t full daylight, you couldn’t argue that it was exactly dark, either.
“Em, look at the clock. It has to say 6:30 before you come in and wake us.” But I knew, even as I said this, that I was changing the “rules” on her. Emma knows she isn’t to come into our bedroom until “it’s light out.” As the seasons change, this is a dubious “rule” and one far too vulnerable to interpretation to really be meaningful. Still Emma was doing her best to honor it.
Emma morosely trudged out of our bedroom and I, now wide awake opened up my ipad and began checking my email. Five minutes later Emma appeared again. ”It says five and three and three.”
“Yes, but it has to say six, three, zero.”
“Okay. Okay.” Emma said and looking forlorn she made her way out of the room.
I could hear her in the living room reciting various arbitrary “rules.” ”Lauren’s class. No you can’t sit on the ledge, that’s dangerous. You have to get down or you’ll bump your head. No not going to hang on the pipe. You might fall down and hurt your head. Ouch! That hurts, you have to go see nurse. Be careful. But listen, if you go on the ledge, you might fall down…” this went on for quite some time and then there she was again. ”It says six, zer0, seven,” she informed me, while peering at the clock.
“Okay Em. You can stay, but you have to be quiet.” I scooted over so that she could crawl under the covers next to me. She lay her head on my shoulder and picked up from where she’d left off. ”Have cereal and toast? Then play the Wii? School bus, Lauren’s class, study room with Joe, sleep, wake up…”
As I listened to her, it never occurred to me to note what she wasn’t saying. In her list of what she expected would take place in the next 24 hours, I was not one of the things she included. It never occurred to me that that omission was intentional and because she didn’t expect to see me again when she returned home, just as she hadn’t for the past two evenings.
This afternoon, I will be waiting for her when she returns home.