Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Terrible Day” Turns Out Okay

“Today’s a terrible day.”

So said my son as he woke up this morning. The reason was clear: Mom was leaving for a two-week trip to Japan. And Kai was not going with.

My wife had not been to her native land in six years, which is a long time without seeing friends and favorite places. She was scheduled to travel there a year ago, but with the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear disaster, she canceled her trip.

We would love to go to Japan with Kai one day, but we don’t think that is feasible right now. Vacations here in the U.S. are hard enough. Taking a 13-hour flight to a foreign land where they speak a different language, a place with extremely crowded cities and small residences, well, that just isn’t going to work with Kai right now.

So, my wife is making this trip alone.

We had told Kai about Mom’s trip several weeks ago, and he did not react much. He did say that he wanted to go, too. But when my wife explained that she would go by herself, he seemed to accept it.

But now that the time for her to leave had arrived, it all finally hit home. He was sad as he hugged Mom before we all got in the car to go to the airport. He asked her to sit next to him in the car.

When we arrived at the airport, he did not get out of the car to say his goodbyes. He just wanted to go home.

But a stop at the grocery store on the way home lifted his spirits. I let him pick some of the items to buy and he happily chose papaya, watermelon, and corn on the cob.

At home, I tried to keep him busy. We played with a marble run. We went to the park. We watched a favorite video together as we adapted our video night tradition for a special lunchtime version.

In the afternoon, I gave him a choice of special activities. He chose miniature golf. But, he did not want to go to a new course. “Not without Mom,” he said. So, we went back to one we went to two weeks ago. And we had fun.

Later, he helped prepare dinner by husking the corn we had gotten earlier. And then we shared some laughs over dinner.

After dinner, he joined me in watching the end of the Chicago Bulls basketball game. Usually, I am happy to catch just a few minutes of games by myself while washing dishes. Kai sometimes likes to see the score, but rarely watches for more than a couple minutes.

This time, however, he shared my excitement as the Bulls made a basket to send the game into overtime, and then kept watching the entire overtime period as the Bulls went on to win the game. It was a father-and-son sports bonding moment that so many dads have all the time, but was a rare one for me.

So we had had a nice day. And for the most part, Kai did not seem sad.

But Mom was never far from his thoughts.

When the Bulls scored their 100th point, Kai shouted with glee. He said that 100 points meant that Mom has to come back early. I told him that wasn’t true, but he said that he couldn’t wait to tell her when we Skype with her.

I guess I can't expect him to get over Mom in one day, no matter how good it was.


  1. That was a nice story. Kai is so very innocent of heart...just as a child should be. He does have one thing to look forward to...his Mama's return. I am sure he will put a lot of effort into her welcome home sign...and reap a lot of joy in his planning of its design and construction.

    1. Yes, as the time for her return draws nearer, he will get very excited about it. Thanks for the idea of having him plan for her welcome home. Though, I'm sure I would have thought of it. ;)

  2. awwww he is soooo sweet
    Glad you made it such a great day for him

    1. It was a nice day, and I intend to make every day a good one for him until Mom comes back.


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