I'm getting ready to go away for five days for a conference. Alone. I think my son knows something is coming because he has been whiny, clingy and just all around a complete mess. This is doing nothing to help ease my guilt.
We have been apart before during his month long hospital stay, but he was much younger then, only 5 months. And even then I drove every night to see him after work and on the weekends.
Then there was the time, when he was 10 months old and I left him in California for a few weeks, while I packed up our belongings and put our house up for sale to move from Texas. But that was two years ago.
I certainly felt guilty then, but I eased my feelings by reasoning that he was young and would not remember it. Plus, he was with my mom both times so its not like he was alone. He was loved and cared for.
But I am worried that, this time he will remember. Yes, he will still be loved and cared for...but he will know I am gone. I imagine it must be hard to be him sometimes, unable to communicate your true feelings. He is limited by the ASL we have taught him.
So many things are running through my head. I should have prepared him better for these moments. I should have taught him about calendars. I wish he could hear me on the phone. And I am worried that this may have a lasting effect. This is not the kind of memory I want to create just a few weeks before a major surgery.
Five days and five nights to a two and a half year old might as well be an eternity. He has no real concept of time, yet. I'm really struggling with how to explain this. My absence. I keep running the words through my head. What vocabulary words does he know and understand enough to explain this?
Tomorrow means nothing, certainly not in terms of hours or days on a calendar. Later, usually means 'after we finish what we are doing now.' Wait, means 'just hang on a sec, it's coming.' He doesn't have the words for this. Where is Child Life when you need them?
With only 48 hours to go before this trip, my only hope is that everyone here will keep him busy and calm. And that when the realization that I am not home hits it, will only last for a few minutes and subside. (I hope.)
Janis Marie is a full-time mom, freelance writer and blogger. Highly regarded and respected for her ‘tell it like it is’ approach; she created and maintains a blog, Sneak Peek at Me to chronicle her son’s life and medical journey.
Through her blog and affiliations, Janis works year-round to promote awareness and acceptance for those living with a rare disease diagnosis.
She’s also a contributing writer to several online media outlets. Some of her published work can be found at She Posts, 5 Minutes for Special Needs, Complex Child and RARE Blog (Children’s Rare Disease Network).