No place like home


I went away on an overnight work retreat last week, and I missed the boys terribly on Thursday night.

The only other time I have left them both overnight was for another work obligation. And, of course, Leo stayed with my parents for two weeks last year when John and I went to China to adopt his little brother. Being away from Leo was by far the most challenging part of that trip.

When I got back to town on Friday, I went immediately to Leo’s school to pick him up.

He was just waking up from his afternoon nap, and he was stuffing his sheet and blanket into his bag.

Leo is a bit grumpy when he wakes up, and he didn’t seem particularly happy to see me.

In fact, he barely said a word as we gathered his things and got into the car to drive home.

As we were pulling out of the preschool parking lot, I said to Leo, “I came early! Were you surprised?”

“Mama,” he said, “you came just when I was wishing you would come.”

He doesn’t say things like that to get a reaction from me. He just naturally has a very sweet way with words. It fascinates me that a child who first heard English at 2 loves words so much—and earnestly tries to choose just the right ones.

“You had a good time when I was away,” I said. “Baba said you had a special boys’ night with soup for dinner and a movie.”

“Yes,” Leo said. “But I have a really good time when I am with my whole family.”

So do I.

And I got the sense that Leo’s father felt the same way. He handled everything beautifully in my absence, as I knew he would, even when Daniel was up most of the night with an ear infection—and they had to make an unplanned trip to the pediatrician.

My sons? They were happy to see me, but they hid it well.

Their father—after a sleepless night with a sick, unhappy child? He was visibly relieved.

“I don’t think that we’ll do this overnight retreat every year,” I told him. “Maybe every two years.”

John didn’t miss a beat. “How about never?”

It makes me feel good to know I was missed, but it makes me even happier to be home.


Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.