This article first appeared in the Sound Telegraph as an instalment of my Balancing Act column. I thought I’d uploaded it … but it turns out I didn’t. I wrote it about four or five years ago and not a lot has changed.
BACK in the day my kids used to worry when I wasn’t around. When I attended a university residential for three days, seven months pregnant with Monkey, I had to leave 20-month-old Bear behind. He was most put out.
I cried at night, missing my little man, but when I got back he tried to give me the cold shoulder. It lasted about 30 seconds. When I went to put my bags away, he threw himself at me and followed me around the rest of the day, never letting me out his sight.
Monkey was even more clingy. He was the one who would stick his arms and legs out when I tried to carry him to the car to go to pre-school, then arch his back when I tried to buckle his seatbelt. He only went one day a week when he was four, but I had to sneak out when he wasn’t looking. While sleepovers at friends’ were not a problem, I still had to ring up and say hello to him.
Now, I know this had to wear off eventually, but sometimes I think it would be nice to know I’m missed a little bit.
When I went to Malaysia for work a few years ago, this poor mummy cried at night because her boys were so far away. They, on the other hand, made the most of a week at friends’ houses, and asked me what kind of presents I was bringing them. I’m sure they missed me a bit and I got extra cuddles for a few days upon my return, but still…
When Bear, then 12, went to Melbourne to see his godmother I cried at the departure gate and insisted on daily phone calls. He was pretty patient and humoured me. Monkey had the same chance last year and as he was leaving, I asked him if he might call on the Sunday.
“Why would I want to call you?” he asked.
When I informed him it was Mother’s Day, he looked a little guilty and then said, “Well, you don’t have to get so grumpy.”
I got a two-minute call mostly grunts… although he did bring me home a lovely present.
Now I am resigned to the fact that my Eastern States-born sons miss some things more than their mother. After returning from a family wedding in Sydney, I was greeted with red roses, chocolates and a gift from Blue Eyes. The kids needed a bit more prompting.
Me: Hi everyone.
Kids: Oh hi. (Quick hug and back to computers).
Me: Anyone want to take a break and have a Krispy Kreme donut?
Kids: Donuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Krispy Kreme!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sounds of gobbling.)