Today, we came to pick you up at school and your caregivers couldn't tell us where you were. In one instance, I was angry, worried, sad -- livid. Running down the hallway toward your dark classroom, I could hear your wails as I opened the door. You were in the doorway of the bathroom in wet pants. Paralyzed and ashamed. You said, "I've been here a long time! No one came to help me!" I stroked your hair and held you in my arms. Who knows long it had been, but you tell the truth. What if we'd been another 15 minutes? There were three adults in the common room, watching 8 other children listen to prerecorded music, but apparently not one of them remembered or noticed your absence.
The sick feeling in my gut pulls me to places I don't necessarily want to go emotionally, but certainly helps me examine what I want in my relationship with you. When we come home after a long day, do we really need to clean and do other chores? Tonight I gladly painted with you, and then created stories before a long bath.
There are moments when I wonder if we'd be better here together, holed up with our books and paints and pretend games. You are, in many ways, a homebody like myself. This weekend you told me, "I like to be home. Will we be home next weekend?" We will, but I know full-time, at home life not what's in the cards right now.
Tonight during our goodnights tonight, I was holding your hand -- stroking your fingers and kissing the soft skin. You said, "you'll always take care of me, Mom."