Nine long days turned into nine of the best days of my entire 2011.
When I first heard RJ would be staying with me for the holiday, I was a bit overwhelmed. I thought about all the things I would have to change. The things I normally did on a daily basis, would be altered to accommodate the needs of an 11 year old. I was scared. I'm not going to lie. Two days in, I was thinking Ha. This isn't something I need to be afraid of. We're having a blast!
Last night, he comes to me in tears. He had been playing outside with the neighborhood kids, so naturally I figured something happened with them. Nope. The tears were actual tears of sadness. He missed his dad.
I can remember as a kid, the long holiday and summer weeks I was forced to stay with my dad. The weekends were bad enough, but when summer came around, spending more than just a couple of days was miserable. I'd call my mom crying asking her to allow me to go home early, but she never would. She thought valuable time with my dad was what I needed. Unfortunately, she didn't know the additional sadness and fear it caused.
When I saw the tears streaming down RJ's face as he expressed his feelings, I knew not to force the issue. The X is the only parent he's known for six years. I can't expect him to not miss him. That's not realistic.
The drive home was hard. I wanted to ball my eyes out and convince him to stay. Instead, I listened to him thank me for all his Christmas gifts, all the fun we had, the experience of working around The Ranch, and how much he thinks I'm the best mom in the whole world. I fought back tears of sadness and only showed tears of joy. I didn't have a choice. My intentions were not to make him feel guilty for missing his dad, and I didn't want to make him feel like he had to choose sides.
He's the best he knows how to be at 11 years old. He brings out the best in me. He's what got me through a couple of rough days last week. Without even knowing, he's changed so much about my life.
I heart him.