The Vanishing

Ian and Kelly went out of town this past weekend. It was the first time I’d had a night to myself since Ian was born.

I’d been looking forward to the time alone, and the chance to take care of some really important things. Movies. Video games. Sleeping late. Having a car. It was a bit like my junior year in high school. I wrote a list of things I wanted to do and places to go. I also wrote a mature, responsible shopping list to offset the time spent in my robe, watching Wings and The Golden Girls: leaf bags, undershirts, bread, tube socks, Christmas presents (?).

On Thursday I realized, ‘Hmm. I’ll only see him for twenty minutes this morning, and a few hours after work.’ Odd, that I’d notice that.

When I got home, I started noticing other things, too. How Ian dances – all the time, to any music. How he lays down the second anyone says, ‘Ni-night.’ How, even though he can climb down the stairs all by himself, Ian still likes to hold my hand. How well he says ‘bus’. How much I was already missing him.

A part of me started to wonder if I’d made a mistake in not going along.

On Friday morning, as I was getting ready to take Ian and Kelly to the airport, I found myself paying attention to Ian’s every little detail and making sure he had everything he could possibly need. Except me.

I was depressed the moment I drove away from the airport. Ian was gone, and he was living his life without me. I’ve always jealously guarded my weekends with Ian, and I’d thrown this one away. And all I got in return was Ray and a few hours’ extra sleep.

I got over it. But instead of a wealth of free time, my list turned into ways of passing the time until Ian got back.

Sunday afternoon found me pacing the airport terminal, anxiously searching the flow of passengers for a tow-headed boy in overalls, picking his nose. Not as uncommon as you’d think.

Finally I saw my father-in-law’s head above the crowd, that he was pushing Ian’s stroller. I rushed to the exit gate, and seriously estimated how far I thought I’d get down the hall before security took out my kneecaps. I was on my toes, dancing like a first-grader before recess. It took a while for Ian to realize that I was waiting for him, but he caught my eye and smiled. My father-in-law pushed the stroller ahead of him for the last few feet, and I dropped to my haunches and caught it, bonking my head against Ian’s. We giggled.

Video games are stupid.

6 Responses

  1. ila
    ila at | | Reply

    Super! Ian pretty much has a bunch of us groupies missing him every moment that we can’t be with him! And you really missed Saturday night with all the family collected together. He entertained us very well!

  2. Sherri Thomas
    Sherri Thomas at | | Reply

    Jared-though we’ve never formally met, I feel as if I know you through your mother. You have a remarkable talent for writing in such a way that the reader can feel every emotion recorded. How wonderful to have such a joy and blessing in your life!! have a great Thanksgiving! I so look forward to the day we meet. Peace to you and yours, Sherri

  3. Grandpa Gilbert
    Grandpa Gilbert at | | Reply

    Now you have a sense for how the absentee Grandparents feel. You have had Ian for about 78 weekends and have only missed one. That is quite remarkable in this day & age. Ian is soooooo lucky to have loving parents who are “THERE” all the time. Keep on “Being There”!

  4. Monica E.
    Monica E. at | | Reply

    Jared, Sherri is right, you are an amazing writer! (But I’ve told you that before!) So are you working on a book yet? Something like “Reflecting on my son…” Just wondering! Thanks for sharing, and have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas! Love,

  5. Angela
    Angela at | | Reply

    (picture me singing) Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…..:) (name that tune) It’s funny how we react when we finally get what we think we’ve been reaching for all this time…a few extra hours of sleep, a few moments alone….

    Thanks for writing. The world is brighter because of it.

  6. Dan
    Dan at | | Reply

    Wow, you’ve been at this a long time!

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