I Miss My Little Man

I miss my little man. When my mom had originally said she wanted to take my 3-½ yr old for a week every summer (she’s a high school counselor and gets most of summer off) I thought it sounded like a great idea. This year especially I was looking forward to it so that my husband and I could get some much needed couple time before we become a family of four.

Sunday was great, we only made one comment on how we are usually entertained by him before bed and we’re going to have to come up with something else for the next week. By Monday night we had figured it out and were having fun. I, of course, called at least twice a day to say good morning and good night but Trysten was obviously having too much fun because for the most part he refused to talk to me.

Wednesday night was what we had envisioned the week to look like; we went to a farewell party for Zach’s boss and then went to a bar with two other couples and a singleton. It was admittedly a lot of fun but I was saddened while driving home when I realized I wouldn’t get to look in on a blissfully sleeping little boy when I arrived back home.

I called him today (Thursday) more than a couple times and he’s had a lot to say each time. I think it’s safe to say we are officially missing each other immensely and I’m not only counting the days now but also the hours. It’s not that I don’t love the alone time with my husband; in fact, when we’re hanging out together it makes it incredibly easier to survive without my son. However, it’s times away from the both of them that I reflect on just what I miss about the boy.

In the morning the only thing waking me up now is a kicking baby who wants fed, I no longer hear the pounding on the door of my Trysten Zachary. I miss his first smile when I come in to get him and the hug he so willingly shares when I’m too tired to move. I miss his reenactments of Power Rangers when I open the door after taking a shower and I miss the way he plays with his hair while he drinks his first morning’s glass of apple juice. I miss his giggle when I let the puppies in and the way he yells, “No, Stotle!” whenever our obese lab tries to sneak a few Lucky Charms. The “Bye mommy, have a good day, I wuv you,” is considerably better than the silence I leave before work without Trysten.

I drive by his daycare now and resist the very powerful urge to pull in and see if some other kid will come running to me the way Trysten does; arms stretched out ready for a hug while he runs the 40 paces to me. I miss hearing every detail about his day and trying to decide which ones were just figments of his miraculous imagination and which ones are really part of his every day life. Getting home and having him help me water the flowers; sitting on the counter while I cook; negotiating every bite for dinner; twirling his hair while drinking his milk. “Two more minutes mommy,” as he bats his long eyelashes knowing full well I’ve never been able to resist him or his daddy when they do that.

But I really miss bedtime; I really, really miss bedtime. Giving him a bath and watching his whole body prune-icize. The way he delights in the water and the bubbles and the toys is sheer joy to watch. Getting him out and snuggling with him in his towel. The smell of his lotion makes me remember him as a baby; I catch my self sneaking sniffs periodically throughout the rest of the night. Lying down with him in his bed as we read Harry Potter (okay, I read and he lays on my belly pretending to listen). Hearing his voice as he prays to His maker to watch over him, his baby, his mommy and daddy and his poopers (puppies). And then when he turns to me and plays with my hair. He giggles when it goes in my eyes and will stay there playing with it as long as I let him. Admittedly it’s hard to turn away so bedtime can last quite long when I’m feeling like I need the extra attention. But then to turn around as I walk out of his room and hear, “I wuv you mommy!” as he turns in bed and pulls the covers under his chin. I even miss the devious tricks plays by calling us up after that to go to the bathroom or wipe his nose.

I realize it’s a blessing to have parents (and sister) who want to take my son for a week and spoil him beyond belief. It’s good for them both to see each other so much. It’s even good for Zach and I to remind us of why we first fell in love and learn to appreciate that and hold on to that throughout the rest of the year. But I do miss my little man and I can’t help but be a bit jealous of my family who has seen him every day this week.

So pray for my state of mind for the next fifty hours of my life. And pray that I might remember how much I even miss when he calls me into the bathroom to help him wipe his butt upon his return.

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The Only Thing To Fear…

I have a fear, a fear I haven’t admitted to a lot of people, but a huge fear nonetheless. I fear that I will die without any warning or notice and without time to tell the people I love how I feel about them. Perhaps it’s irrational, perhaps in another lifetime I was left by a loved one without knowing how they felt. I do know there are a few examples from this lifetime in which people have passed without me ever telling them how I feel.

My ex-boyfriend’s dad died of a heart attack my freshman year of college. After dating the boy for the better part of 3 years, Jon had become my second dad and I loved him very dearly. He was smart, loving, hilarious and full of energy. I have a vivid mental picture from one of my high school basketball games (when I wasn’t even dating his son) of him in the front row yelling, “Go Tesi” at the top of his lungs and then standing and clapping whenever I didn’t screw up. I remember his favorite song was Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” and he held off smoking in the garage whenever I was around because it made my eyes turn red. At his funeral one of their best family friends came up to me and said, “Jon always said he thought of you as his daughter and if he could’ve chosen one it would’ve been you.” (He had two sons, no daughters). Though her words gave me comfort, I prayed so intensely that God was on the other side telling Jon, “She always said if she were to have a second dad, she would’ve wanted it to be you.” I never told him, we got along so well I comfort myself in believing he just had to have known how much I loved him and still think about him all the time.

My senior year of college I called my mom’s office (she was one of my high school’s counselors). The secretary then told me she was in another woman’s office comforting her because her son had just died in a car accident. It just so happened I graduated with her son and considered him a good guy, a friend. I broke down and decided it best not to attend classes that day. Matt was the guy in high school who was a friend of everybody. My “position” in high school was an interesting one but Matt never cared much about that and always showed me the greatest amount of support and respect even when people from his “group” disagreed. He not only accepted my stance against partaking in things he and his friends did, he respected it and told me so on more than one occasion. The day before he died he and some friends were in Iowa City and they stopped by my house. He got to meet my son for the first time and we were able to “catch up” in the twenty or so minutes they hung around. I walked in the house and lamented on how great of a guy he had always been. Unfortunately the lamenting stayed only between my husband and myself, because he was taken from this world not 12 hours later.

So this morning I woke up early and got ready before Trysten woke up so that we could spend some extra quality time before we went to work and daycare. Sure enough, we had a lot of fun. His favorite game is to say something like, “I really like this cereal, but you know what I like more than this cereal?” He waits for me to ask, “What?” And with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen, he claims, “You”. So we played this adorable game the good portion of the morning and when it was time for me to head off to work I gave him a hug and he told me to “share good with my friends” and sent me off. As I was maneuvering (everything is a maneuver when you’re 7 months pregnant, in a skirt, trying to get into a Honda Civic) into the car Zach yells at me, “Tesi wait.” Trysten came out, obviously crying. He came up to me and said, “I sad cuz you left and I didn’t say I wuv you.” I truly was thisclose to shrugging off work for the day and staying with my child who shares my sometimes-irrational fear.

I have to believe it’s at least a small fear in all of us. That even from a small age we innately want “to love and be loved in return”. The ability to love is the greatest blessing God has given us and I am considerably luckier than most that I have had an abundance of love to give and given to me in my life. My husband and I don’t leave each other without a kiss and an “I love you”. My mom and I have long since said it to one another and I’ve slowly coaxed it out of my dad and sister when we’re parting ways as well (I fear I have a long way to go for my little brother). It comes extremely naturally to all the Klipschs, more often than not it’s a competition on who can prove their love more or say the words first. But I hope my family, friends and acquaintances realize those words are more than words to me, that not only do I truly love them, but respect, admire and appreciate them. If I die tomorrow I don’t want them to just remember how I said those words so often but how I made them feel them all the time.

This blog is dedicated not only to my enormous family: blood, extended, in-laws and the like, but also to my friends both old and new, to teachers and mentors and everyone in between. To God, that He reminds me of the people who need to hear what I think of them the most. And that He continuously shows me his love, as his has for all my years. And to everyone out there who might share in this little fear of mine. Go spread a little love people.