The hardest bit of walking out the door is the goodbye. Mommy goes away and then Mommy comes? Comes? ‘Back’ he whispers, his little blue eyes smiling at me. That’s right I say. She always comes back. He’s great, he’s a big boy now, goes to play school, getting ready for big school.
He waves to me every morning. Goodbye so Mommy. And I smile, confidently, will you make mom’s coffee? Press the button? All the while smiling.
Here you go Mommy!
Thank you. I love you. I’ll see you later.
A point came. A point of needing to leave them. A point of going back to work. A point of coming into myself again. I do the books for the farm on Wednesdays. Make the dinners the night before. Keep the brown bread in the bin plentiful, make sure there’s always butter, cheese, tomatoes, eggs and ham in the fridge.
I’m out in the real world again. I feel great. I’m not walking at a todder’s pace. Not reading Tractor Ted, again. I can drink a full cup of coffee without having to referee a match over a lego-switch that was belonged to ‘my-train-not-his.’ Last week, I ate a whole bowl of soup from start to finish in one sitting. A whole bowl of soup.
Their uniforms are clean. I’ve made their lunches. Put the note in his lunchbox right? I can ring and check later. Himself will be ok. I’ll ring him during break. There are snacks for after school. Pencils in the drawer. Football shorts in the hot press.
My books are in the car, my makeup, brush, podcasts; I’m ready to go. The little coffee he made me is in my travel cup. And I look back.
I put on my biggest smile as I wave him goodbye. He waves from the window.
This is what I wanted. And he’s fine. Right?
I smile and wave at my blue eyed boy and Daddy picks him up and they wave goodbye together. I go back into the real world smiling and waving until I round the corner and sink into the driver’s seat.
Later in the classroom, I’ll be great, back in form like I’ve never been away. I’ll be too busy to look back, to even think of them. I’ve done my job, I’ve reared them well. They’re beautiful and I helped do that. So I stepped confidently with that knowledge back into step with the rest of the human race.
And yet, I feel the urge to reverse the car back to my beautiful four year old, to his Daddy, to his brothers, to my kitchen, to him stood there waving.
I drive through the red gates.
Mommy goes away and then Mommy comes back.