Ahhh, autumn is in the air. The campus is suddenly coming alive with students and faculty, and that palpable feeling of excitement permeates my office. And the weather! Oh sweet weather. I love where I live. The instant mid-August hits, the weather undergoes a subtle shift. Suddenly, a breeze is perpetually in the air, and the evenings cool down. Love, love, love.
This summer at my house has meant lots of father/son bonding time, as once Mike's summer classes wrapped up, he was home with Henry 3 days per week. So, when I arrive home from work each day, I'm finding lots of "daddy and me" bonding exercises ongoing. Drinking of Slurpees, walks down by the water to see the ducks, Tinker Toy assembling. And yesterday, a gigantic black spider stuck to my kitchen ceiling.
*father and son both staring straight up*
"This thing is TOTALLY AWESOME."
Apparently, the plastic spider prize Hank received at Vacation Bible School had sticking and suckage properties that were previously undiscovered. They were thrilled.
This all has had the effect of a change in Hank's "allegiance," if you will, with regard to comfort and play time. Daddy is now clearly the "fun guy," the one Hank turns to when he wants to play or cuddle. The other night, Mike had an outing with a friend planned, and Hank wandered in from watching his car back out of the driveway. Eyes were liquid, lip was quivering.
"I...I...I WANT DADDY!"
I froze. I mean, all these years, of course Hank has loved Mike, but *I* was always the go-to gal. MOMMY. I did all the nursing, nurturing, soothing (AND night waking, just for the record) for all these *4 long years.* As my mother would say, what am I, chopped liver?
I immediately summoned Hank over to my arms where he promptly burst into tears, asking when Daddy would be home. This did nothing to soothe my Mommy Anxiety. I cuddled him lots, read him a book and administered lots of kisses, and he settled down. We had a nice night together, albeit mixed in with several other inquiries as to Daddy's return home. I told myself that this was all very age and gender-appropriate, and made total sense given how much time they'd spent together this summer. But I couldn't help it; I was crushed. Did he still want Mommy?
When Mike got back, after Hank went to bed, I pounced. Perversely, his response that Hank did in fact get teary sometimes when I left the house (to go to dance class, for instance) made me feel better. My precious little guy! They're always changing, and we need to change with them. But it's never easy, not ever, in parenting.