When I first met my husband the biggest "business trip" he took was from his basement level office to the basement level cafeteria. About 3.5 years ago he took a new job with a great company, pregnant with opportunity. Among the various things awaiting him came international oversight. Yup. No longer was the extent of his responsibility a single office location in Jersey. Now he'd have multiple offices in the U.S. to oversee, as well as Britain. His first business trip with this new company was to be the very weekend following September 11th. Obviously with airports closed and the country spinning in turmoil the trip was delayed. He instead went a week or so later - flying out of Newark he could still see the World Trade Center ruins smoldering on the ground.
Since then he's returned to the London office twice. Once when our son was about two months old and then again this Spring. The latest trip included an add-on visit to one of his newest areas of responsibility - France. Yup, he got to go to Paris and spend a weekend being a tourist. Why, I ask you, could he not have these trips at a time in our lives when I could have tagged along? Ahh, but once again I digress.
Shortly after returning from the his grand European tour, he picked up three more tasks. The first was to oversee the negotiation of new rental property in DC. He's spent two days down there so far working on this task - just day trips though so we've not noticed the fact that he was out of state. The 2nd was a similar task for Chicago. Another day trip but one so late in his return it seemed as if he was gone a day. The third was taking over the purchasing oversight for AsiaPac. Now that means a trip to Sydney, Australia - which is where he is right now.
This marks the fourth "away from us for a night" trip this year for B. Three business and one to visit his ailing mother. Little guy has always done well in the past, but this time seems a bit different. He's not by any means difficult or acting out because of it. But its clear he misses Daddy. In fact, its so clear to me that he does because he tells me often.
B left on Thursday afternoon for his trip. The three mornings since, the little man has woken up and called out for Dad before Mom. In our house, this is rare. It happens once in a while, but typically we've got a Mama's boy on our hands and the first words out of his mouth each day are predictably "Moooommmmyyy! Come get me!" (This despite the fact that he knows darn well how to get out of his "big boy bed" without needing help.) Yet the last three its been a call for Daddy and so before I go in (which would get my head bit off being the wrong person and all that.) I call back "Honey, Daddy is away, remember."
And each morning he says quietly "I miss Daddy."
Well Daddy had a rather 'plan ruining' run in with weather Thursday night. A line of storms in PA kept the plane from taking off on time and therefore he missed a connecting flight. He had to spend Thursday night in Los Angeles...and all day Friday since the next flight out to Australia wasn't until 11 pm PST. We got a call on Friday from B and as soon as the little man figured out who was on the phone he ran and procured himself a telephone - yes he did.
"Daddy!" he yelled. "Daddy! Daddy! You in Australia now?"
Daddy said "No, honey, not yet."
Boy said "Daddy in airport? Limousine take you airport. You there?" And so Daddy explained "sort of" to L. "I miss Daddy." L said softly. "I love you." And Daddy got sad.
Then, as if the "I miss Daddy" declarations weren't enough to hear a few times each day, Little man pokes at my over-hormonal heart this morning with the type of pure belief in anything only a two-year-old can muster.
See, he has a globe - a Leap Frog globe that is actually geared towards ages 8 and up. It was a gift last year at Christmas from his grandparents and he adores it. He pokes at the colorful countries with the little stylus and he listens intently as the recorded man's voice tells him which country he's selected. He's gotten quite good it actually. He can consistantly locate where he lives and about five or six other places. Each time Daddy travels now we take some time before and during the trip to show Little man where we are on the globe and then where Daddy is going/is working. This time was no different - mostly.
This time we added a few features. Being two, Little man is a Wiggles fan. Sure, not all tots are, but it seems more often than not that group of four is addictive. Not only that, but L enjoys watching the Koala Brothers on the Disney Channel once and while. SO this time we showed him Australia on the globe and then we told him that its were Wiggle Bay is AND where Frank and Buster (the koalas) live. Little guy couldn't believe how lucky Daddy was to go to Wiggle Bay. I mean really, its like heaven isn't it?!
But back to this morning - I come down from getting dressed to go to church and I find my little guy laying on his back in the middle of our living room transfixed by the TV. Its rare that he pays this much attention to anything outside of a Thomas and Friends tape/DVD, but here he was focused hard on those Wiggles. He saw me come in from the corner of his eye and without blinking or budging he said "Daddy be on Wiggles."
Me - Well Daddy is in Australia now where the Wiggles are, yes.
L - No. I watch Wiggles to see Daddy. Greg Wiggle put Daddy on TV for me. Daddy sing "Head, Shoulder, Knee, Toes."
I nearly cried. I mean I knew this child missed his father, but I hadn't really understood HOW much he missed Daddy. He's always enjoyed his Dad time, but this was new. This complete 'loss' without Dad wasn't something I'd seen before. Last trip of substantial length he started asking for Daddy the day before he was due to come home. I don't know if its just a new change in their relationship or that we've had a lot of travel this year (or so it seems) and L is just starting to feel it pile up. Either way, its heartbreaking really.