Monday, November 16, 2015

Parenthood: Week 127 – Another Reunion

This past week, I spent most of my time away from Ollie. I went on our yearly fifth grade outdoor education trip, which was from Tuesday through Friday.

Two year agos, when I first went on this trip as a father, my mind kept coming back to Ollie and wanting to be at home to help Diana (I wrote about this in this post). I knew that Diana and Buffy would miss me but I didn’t worry at all about Ollie missing me. He was only a couple months old and he didn’t have a developed concept of time.

Being away from Ollie, now that he is older is easier and harder all at the same time. It’s easier to be away from Ollie because I know he is more independent and his ability to advocate for himself has continued to grow. It’s harder to be away from him because he is much more aware of when I’m away and the amount of time that we spend together. Also, while toddlers are stronger and more durable, they can also get into a lot more trouble than a newborn (newsflash: toddlers do not innately know to not run into traffic).

I told Ollie that I was going on a trip the Sunday before. At first he assumed that he was going to go on the trip with me. When I explained that Ollie was going to stay home and that my parents were coming to visit at the same time, he had a meltdown. Later, Ollie and I had a Facetime conversation with my mom and explained the situation again and this time he didn’t have a meltdown and seemed excited to see my mom.

Part of me would rather leave without having these tough conversations but I know that it would make it harder for Diana. Having your kid meltdown about a situation before it happens means that they are having time to experience these feelings, which is important as they process their emotions.

Ollie did pretty well being away from me. He didn’t seem to outwardly express that he missed me that much.  I missed him a ton and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. But I was able to focus and I had some really nice moments with my fifth graders.

When I got home on Friday evening, Buffy ran up and licked my face when I picked her up, which is something she only does after I come back from a trip. Most of the time when I greet her, she looks up at me and allows me to pet her before walking away. After Diana said hi to me and gave me a hug, Ollie ran up to me, noticed that I had my guitar and requested that we play together. No dramatic hug or greeting, he just wanted to get down to having some father-son time. And that’s exactly what we did.

I was exhausted, hungry, and dehydrated, but as Ollie strummed my guitar, I felt content, happy and for the first time since I left for the trip, complete.  

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