"I missed you so much, Mom," he says when I pick him up from Pre-School two days a week. It's quickly followed by a, "Just sometimes I missed you though. Not all the times," but nonetheless I am quickly turned to mush in his little hands.
It's an incredible thing to be missed. As a stay at home mom, it's not very often that we're privy to that sort of feeling. As a matter of fact I could count on one and a half hands the number of times I've had to leave my boys for an extended period of time. It's healthy for the both of us, I know this, but it doesn't make the leaving any easier.
Picking Carter up from Pre-School has become one of my favorite moments each week. I look forward to pick-up roughly the same way that he looks forward to attending school. Wednesdays through Sundays are tricky though. You try explaining to a three year old that he only goes to school on Mondays and Tuesdays. It's like trying to explain to him that I do more than just "laun-dah-ry" while he's away.
That's what he always asks me upon pick up, "Mom, did you do all of my laun-dah-ry while I was in the school?" Of course I answer yes. Yes, I did. All of it while I was missing you. It's a little lie that couldn't be further from the truth.
I love asking him about his day and I'm grateful for the cheat sheet of songs and activities that hangs outside his classroom door. If it wasn't for this sheet, I'm fairly certain that while he's at school, he does nothing more than "play trains" and "paint sometimes."
As the days progress, it's become extra fun learning about his new friends. His classmates don't have names currently, unless you count "Dragon," who I'm pretty sure is really named "Jackson." I will say though, if his parents really did name him Dragon, I would love to shake their hands.
Right now he plays a lot with "the boy with the yellow hair," mostly trains, of course, and there is a "girl with red glasses on her head" that always wants to hug him even though he's "tired of hugs."
On or around his fifth day of class, his teacher approached me and very seriously asked if I had ever had his hearing checked. I was a bit taken a back but the truth was, he had had his hearing checked six months earlier and passed with flying colors. She went on to say that whenever he is playing, he doesn't typically look up when she calls his name to move onto the next activity. I laughed.
I explained to her that his hearing is fine and that's just our Carter. He loves playing so much that it's easy for him to tune out what's going on around him. Not to mention that this is the first time he's ever had to answer to anyone other than me and I'm sure that will take some getting used to.
She seemed satisfied with my answer but that didn't keep me from calling my mom as soon as I got into the car. "Mom! She thinks he needs his ears checked! He's not listening to her! I have that child in class! You know, that one!" She quickly reminded me that he's three and to stop worrying. He's a boy, he loves to play and it's great that he can play with that kind of concentration.
Thank god for moms. Even with three years of experience under my belt I have a feeling that it's going to be many, many more years of phone calls to my own mother.
Sunday evenings are my favorite. As I tuck Carter into bed at night, I start talking with him about the exciting days of school that he has ahead of him. How he'll get to see his teacher and all of his friends again. To see his eyes light up and his voice lift higher and higher with excitement as he talks about his favorite trains and his favorite easel full of red paint.
He doesn't know this yet, but I am equally as excited as he is. However, I just can't wait to be missed.