Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Graham completed his quarantine and retuned to school yesterday. To say it was bittersweet, is to put it mildly.
We had our last quarantine lunch together on Monday. We had tuna melt sandwiches. His new favorite. He had never had a tuna melt sandwich until I made one for him last week. He said it was the best sandwich he had ever had. That warmed my heart. Everything about having him at home with me, warmed my heart.
As we ate together, I asked him how he felt about having to return to school the next day, after 10 days of quarantine. He looked up at me and quite unexpectedly, his eyes welled up with tears. "I don't want to go back to school Mommy." I'm going to miss being at home with you Mommy." I choked up and my eyes too, started to well up with tears. "Oh Graham, I am going to miss you more than you will ever know, but I'm so happy that you get to go back and see your new teacher and be with your classmates," Hard as we tried, neither of us seemed to be able to contain our sadness. He got up from his chair, came over to me and wrapped his arms around me. We held each other and cried.
In our family of five, the chances of any of my kids having that much time alone with me is one in a million. As a single parent, I can count on one hand, the number of times that I have had the privilege of being with each of my children, alone. The logistics just don't allow for it.
Before the pandemic, I had a babysitter that would come, from time-to-time, and I would take the kids on individual "date days/nights." We would see a movie, have dinner, take a sunset walk on the beach or go clothes shopping (that was Catherine's favorite date). The kids always chose what they wanted to do. We always did something fun, but it only lasted a few hours.
This time I had with Graham was different. It was unplanned and over the course of many days, so it was more relaxed. We didn't go out or do anything special. We didn't even plan fun activities at home. We were just together. It was that simple. We spent six uninterrupted hours a day together in the kitchen/family room, doing our own work and had lunch together everyday. It was something that neither of us had ever experienced in the nine years we have spent as Mother and Son.
The house was quiet, which is something that both of us relish. We have a noisy family, so quiet time comes at a premium. Additionally, Graham is reserved, often sitting quietly at the dinner table while the other kids chatter away about their days. However, I noticed when Graham was home alone with me he spoke more and shared more. I think he felt like he finally had a chance to be heard.
As uneventful as the days seemed that Graham and I spent together, there was actually nothing uneventful about them at all. Both of us experienced a deepening of the bond between us. We saw sides of each other that are rarely seen when we are together as a large (boisterous) family (he was more open and talkative; and I was more quiet, because I could be). We quietly celebrated how alike we are in many ways, without even having to point it out. We were our best selves, really.
After Graham finished his tuna melt he started to tear up again. "Maybe I’ll get exposed to Covid again Mommy, so I can quarantine at home with you." Of course I had to remind him that getting exposed to Covid is serious, but I understood his point. The precious time we had together seemed worth attaining at any cost. Well almost any cost.
Graham made the unusual request to sleep with me on his last night of quarantine.
Catherine and Miles were pleased to have Graham join them back at school
Graham and I said a heartfelt farewell to each other yesterday morning, as I dropped him off for his first day back.