Somewhere along the way, Ethan started referring to things as "My friend" as in "My friend Grandma" or "My friend Magic" (or "My friend Gunner", depending on which dog he was talking about) or my favorite, "My friend Daddy". Well, yesterday I left him and his mother at Midway airport in Chicago, after driving him in and spending a couple of days together as a family again. And now, I sit here trying not to cry, thinking about the fact that my friend Ethan is not with me, and I won't see him for another four months or so.
So much will change in that time, so many changes I won't see take place. In the last few weeks he had taken to opening his car door himself, and he could pull the seat belt all the way to the latch (though he wasn't able yet to figure out how to latch it). By the time I see him again he will be able to, and he won't need me to do that for him anymore, just as there are a dozen other things he doesn't need me to do for him anymore.
I miss him so much. It's amazing to feel both totally empty and yet filled with sorrow. I guess sorrow has no calories. I miss my little boy, who won't be quite so little the next time I see him. I miss how he affects others - as we were walking into a restaurant in Chicago a woman walking out saw him, smiled, and then said "He is going to break a lot of hearts when he grows up." I miss the fact that his favorite thing in the world was to jump on me, oftentimes catching me completly off-guard with a pounce on the stomach. I miss my friend Ethan. I miss my son Ethan.
I've been quiet the last couple of weeks as the time came to say goodbye for awhile. I'll probably be quiet for a few more as I readjust to things. (And it's not just me - as I started typing that sentence, I got a call from Lesa - Ethan was missing me and wanted to talk to me. And while he didn't talk, he did listen, and I talked and sang and made him smile. I tell ya, that kid and I are in tune with each other.) But just to prove I'll eventually be okay, I'll leave you with this: