As the kids get older, I’m starting to work more. Hold on. Let me step back for a second. It’s difficult for me to work more than I do as a parent. What I mean is that I’m doing other activity besides changing diapers and cooking toddler food. Yes, I had a life and job before they came and I’m very interested in resuming some of those activities again. Very.

So this past weekend, I went off to a business event.  I left early on Friday morning and returned in time to pick up the kids from daycare the following Monday afternoon. I was missing in action for almost 4 full days.

I didn’t tell the Worm that I was leaving and I didn’t tell him when I was coming back. He’s at an age where he understands quite a bit, but the man-made concept of time doesn’t trigger much neuronal activity. So what did I do? I made the choice not to tell Worm about my trip. I mean, why would I want to stress the little guy both before I leave as well as while I’m gone, right? Right? Please tell me I’m right.

The situation didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped. It turns out that Worm arose Friday morning to find no one resembling the chiseled, dashingly handsome and debonair Honeydaddy anywhere. He missed me. Deeply. And his world fell apart every day that he didn’t find me hiding in the closet, under the couch cushions, or behind the coffee table.  (I missed him too, but I played with my cell phone all weekend to distract myself from the emotional roller coaster of reality.)

Worm and I are best friends. Every day, he tells me that he loves me. Every day, I hug him and let him know how proud I am of him. Every day, I tell him that I love him in a way that he could never question. Except for last weekend. And Worm wasn’t quite himself. Sure, his mother was there to hold him, and squeeze him, and love him.  But that’s her relationship with the Worm, not mine. She can’t take the place of me, just as I couldn’t take her’s. The human heart just doesn’t allow us to replace one another that way.

So this week when I returned to my normal daddy duties and doodies, I was reminded of how much a part of that little boy’s life I have become. I’m a fixture to the Worm.  Not like a lightswitch, but more like a TV with Curious George episodes playing on it.  I’m important.

Worm’s been afraid to take his afternoon nap, and though he hasn’t said it, I believe he’s fearful that I won’t be home when he wakes up. During what should be his nap time, he pokes his head out in the living room every 10 minutes to check on me by saying “I just want to give you a hug.” or “I want to give you a mooch.” This has been going on for over an hour a day. He fears that if he closes his eyes for too long, I’ll disappear.

Worm’s still not quite recovered from my trip. (Neither am I, by the way.) So I’m working to repair the damage I did by supplying extra hugs and kisses to him.

I don’t know where to go with this one. This is a tough spot. I know that I’ll be doing more weekend events, but I’m still not sold on telling Worm that I’ll be gone since he only understands two forms of time: right now and not right now. Maybe I’ll just give up on working and retire now.  Maybe I’ll take the Worm with me to events to run the cash register or something.  Or maybe I’ll help Worm disconnect from emotional suffering by getting him a cell phone.

Worm, That's an Interesting Sleeping Face...

Worm, That’s an Interesting Sleeping Face…