At first I thought I heard laughter from my son’s room. But within seconds I knew first impressions were wrong.
I immediately began to walk down the hall to check on him. Each step confirmed he was not laughing, but instead crying. Not the type calling for me to race down the hall because of an injury, but the type calling for gentle, deliberate sympathy or empathy.
He was balled up on his bed with Blanket over him. Always one for precision, my son named his soft, light green blanket Blanket.
Gently rolling back and forth he cried.
“What’s wrong, bud?”
“Are you okay?”
Through the tears and a little bit of snot, he said, “I miss Mommy.”
Before I could fully develop the words of comfort and encouragement, I said two short sentences. “Mommy misses you, too. Would you like some alone time or would you like me to stay?”
Every parent wants their kid to say, “Dad, please stay,” but mine said, “I want to be alone.”
And with a reassuring kiss on the forehead and squeeze on his shoulder, I got up and left with no words but, “Okay.”
For a brief time, his crying got louder, but he seemed to get it out and process the way he wanted to. Before long, he came out to the kitchen and took a long drink of water. He walked over to me and hugged my waist.
No words. Just a hug.
“Dad, can I have a Power Crunch bar?”
He needed a little time and a little space to process emotion himself. Next time, he may want me there, he may want some words of wisdom or encouragement. Today, he wanted space.