Well, sort of. I guess we could say my husband’s heart is divided — a little bit of it is in Boston, but the rest of it is back in Florida.
Sorry. Bad heart biopsy joke.
Seriously, though, we’re home. As my father-in-law stopped at the airport curb to pick us up, our kids rolled out of that van like clowns in a circus car. They hugged us and hugged us and hugged us. Then, when I was trying to hug one I hadn’t hugged yet, one son jumped on me and wrapped himself around me like a spider monkey. While I hugged, he hung on for dear life. It was a beautiful moment.
If we counted hugs and kisses like we count money, I would be a bagillionaire right about now. And that would only be counting the hugs and kisses from today.
In between hugs and kisses, I tried to spend a little snippet of time talking to each kid today, getting a pulse on where they are emotionally. We’d been gone for a week and a half, and my husband was in a hospital of some sort (FL and Boston) for more than three weeks.
These kids finished out the school year, collected awards, put on a program, celebrated our oldest’s 12th birthday, enjoyed more than two weeks of summer vacation, and one daughter has spent hours and hours in rehearsals for a community theater play — all while wondering if their daddy would live, if their daddy would be in the hospital all summer, if we’d make it back for the play, if they’d get to go to the beach at all this summer, if we’d still get to travel to WV and VA this summer to see friends and family, and if they would have to spend weeks and weeks in a hospital some day too (because they all know they saw a cardiologist last year and had all sorts of heart tests).
So right away, I wanted to get a grasp on where each of them are emotionally. I have a feeling I’ll be having these conversations often in the months to come — just checking in with each one, asking questions, listening, showing empathy and understanding.
Silas, my seven-year-old, was my biggest concern. Before we left for Boston, he was angry and he wanted us all to know it. He could easily articulate why he was angry too. He was mad that his daddy was sick, mad that his daddy had spent so much time in a hospital and was having to go to a different hospital far away, and he was mad that his daddy might die and we couldn’t promise he wouldn’t. I think the kid had some pretty good reasons to be mad.
While we were gone, he seemed to move from angry to really, really sad. He told me on the phone that he was not mad any more; he was just really sad that we were still away, really sad that Daddy was still sick.
Tonight, he was just happy — happy that Daddy seems well, happy that Daddy isn’t going back to the hospital, happy that we’re together as a family again. And so we talked some more — about fun things he did while we were away, about who we saw and what we did in Boston.
Then I said, “Do you have any more questions about Daddy, about Daddy’s health, about Boston? You can ask me anything.”
He paused, contemplating. Then he said, “Yeah, there is something I was wondering. Is Boston spelled with an ‘i-n’or with an ‘o-n’?”
Yeah, a piece of my heart isn’t in Boston with an o-n. A piece of my heart is with that seven-year-old boy. It’s good to be home with him.