We have a routine on Tuesday nights. I go to a spinning class for an hour with my girlfriends and one of their husbands, who shall now forever be known as Chef Spaghetti, makes dinner for our kids and then for us after class. (Yes, I live in Pleasantville.) Will loves it. I love it. Well, okay I hate the class for the majority of it, but I feel great after.
Last night, we went to leave and Will wasn’t there. I looked up to the top of their stairs and he was there, silently weeping, in a ‘I’m not just playing around here,’ kind of way. Immediately he said that their daughter hadn’t done anything and out he wailed, ‘I just don’t want you to leave!’. I ran to him and he clung to me in a way that is a bit foreign to me.
He clung and cried and wouldn’t let go. Since the first week of daycare when he was one, I’d never seen him like this. He just kept saying over and over, ‘Don’t leave me. I just want to be with you.’ After five minutes he stopped crying but was adamant. So I brought him with me. He loved it and now he knows that spinning isn’t actually spinning but is on a bike. And I can tell you, looking over, wanting to barf and having him give me a thumbs up was sort of motivating. We talked after and he explained that since it was a special holiday, he wanted to spend it with me. Note to self. St. Patrick’s Day is a special holiday.
I woke up this morning and realized that 15 years ago today, I was waking up on the other side of the world having just been a bridesmaid in the best wedding ever. Two of my closest friends. Australia. St. Patrick’s Day. Awesome. The phone rang at 7 in the morning and my dad was on the other end of the line telling me to be at the airport the next day at 6 am to come home. They had found a tumour in my mom’s brain.
Nine months later, my mom was gone. And I know internally and a few times to her, I had the same guttural cry of ‘please don’t leave me. I need you here.’ At 30, and not just at 6, I needed her and panicked at the thought of her not being here. At 45, I still have those thoughts, more times than I can count. But I also know that she is here with me. I feel that more lately than ever. She’s here in some of the ways that I parent Will. She’s here in the way my sister’s make a Christmas dinner. She’s here in the look my brother gives me when we don’t agree on something. (I noticed that one this weekend). She’s here in the stories my dad still shares, even if we’ve heard them a hundred times.
She was here last night when I put Will to bed and assured him that I would never leave him. I told him that when I wasn’t physically with him, I would still always be there. It’s the truth. Then I cuddled with him while he feel asleep because I could physically wrap my arms around him. Because while it’s comforting to feel her presence, nothing beats a hug.