Good-bye, my babes! Have fun... and be good!My internal clock woke me at 2:20am, I knew that Jon wanted to be on their way to the airport by 3:00 and suddenly I was lying there wide-awake. I crept back into our bedroom and pulled a sleeping Hudson into my arms for cuddling. (Both kids woke in the middle of the night needing comfort; Jon took Hudson and I took Devyn, only I fell asleep in Devyn’s bed.) As I tried drifting back to sleep, I couldn’t help but kiss the back of Hudson’s neck or comb my fingers through his soft, curly hair. I placed his limp fist around my finger and just absorbed my sleeping Hudson.
I heard the alarm go off and had to shake my sleepy husband awake; he finally rose and dragged himself into the shower. While he showered and packed up the truck, I continued to lie in our bed with Hudson draped across my chest. Again, I just soaked in the sensations of my son. The soft cadence of his rising chest, deep in slumber; the wet curls on the back of his neck from being too hot; the little murmurs he made as he shifted his weight. Then Jon appeared in the doorway; he came to the side of the bed, bent down, whispered in my ear, “Its time to say good-bye Mama”, and lifted Hudson into his arms. I got out of bed and hugged Jon from behind, so my face was next to Hudson’s; I kissed Hudson’s rosy cheeks and bid him good-bye. It wasn’t until Hudson roused from sleep and reached for me that the tears began to fall.
As Jon put Hudson into his car seat, I snuck back into Devyn’s room and crawled back into bed with her. I repeated the process of stroking her hair, wrapping her sweaty, curly tendrils around my finger, and kissing each eye, cheek, and her nose. She never woke when Daddy picked her up in his arms and, still with tears running down my face, I kissed my little girl good-bye. Jon returned for his own good-bye once the kids had been safely placed in their car seats. I was wrapped in the strong, protective arms of my husband and he kissed my tears. I held on longer than normal, wanting to soak up every moment of being there, the one place that always feels like home. With another kiss, one more tender than usual, and a tight squeeze, he too was out the door.
I stared out the window, still dark and black out, and watched the headlights fade away. I turned back to the empty house, its amazing how a house just knows when its loved ones have left, and kept repeating to myself, “Its only four days, its only four days.” I returned back to bed and battled the anxious thoughts that had consumed me just a few weeks earlier. (A few weeks ago, I had cried myself to sleep over the thought of something happening to Jon and the kids. I can really let my imagination run wild if I let it.) I tossed and turned; it was still too quiet, too dark, and I wasn’t able to fall asleep. I finally turned on the TV for some noise and after an hour of watching Law & Order (that show is always on!), I was finally able to fall back asleep, the TV as background noise the rest of the night.
Despite getting to the airport by 4:30 this morning, in the hopes of catching the 6:45am flight to North Carolina, Jon and the kids were bumped from one flight to the next to the next. Such is the case of flying stand-by, you arrive knowing that it can happen and you must have the patience to wait it out. They just got on a flight about an hour ago and are now thousands of miles in the air; I’ll breathe a little easier once I know they’ve landed. And tomorrow, when I get to sleep in, I wonder if I’ll be thankful for the time alone or if I’ll be sad that the house is devoid of noise. I’ll let you know.