Yesterday afternoon, I walked into daycare to pick up Lee & Evie. As I’m signing them out, a teacher tells me that Lee is in the restroom, but she was going to help him gather his things and bring him to the front. I tell her thank you and head to the other end of the building to grab Evie.
I stand at the gate for a minute or two and chat with Evie’s teachers about her day. As I take her carseat from her teacher and turn around, Lee is opening the gate from another room.
And he is crying.
His teacher tells me he didn’t have the best day. Everything he did seemed to land him in trouble or time-out.
With a red face and tears streaming down both cheeks, he walks over to me and says, “Mommy, can you hold me?” (Lee translation: He wants me to pick him up).
“Baby, hang on, hang on just a second,” I say to him as I’m trying to get Evie’s carseat and bag to the floor in the tiny hallway without jostling her awake.
“It’s okay Mommy, I just.. it’s okay,” he says as he picks up Evie’s bag for me and starts walking towards the door.
“Baby no, come here, I can hold you. I just had to get an arm free,” I say as he’s still walking away.
“I’m just upset, let’s go. I wanna watch Toy Story,” he says to me. I pick Evie back up and walk through the front door that he is holding open for me, snatching a tissue off the counter and handing it to Lee as I pass him.
We walk to my car and I hold the door on Evie’s side open as he climbs in, puts both bags down on the middle seat, walks over to the far side and gets into his seat. I pop Evie’s carseat into its base, kiss her forehead, close the door, and walk around to Lee’s side.
When I open his door, he is sitting in his carseat, holding his stuffed puppy and sucking his thumb. I take the tissue out of his hand, have him blow his nose, wipe his face, and then buckle him in. As I’m tightening his straps, he leans forward and I kiss his cheek.
“I’m sorry you had a bad day buddy, I love you,” I say to him.
“I was in time-out,” he says.
“Oh yeah? What happened?” I ask him.
“I was just bad. I was mean to my friends,” he tells me.
“Oh no buddy! We can’t be mean to our friends!”
“I know, I know,” I hear him say as I’m closing his door.
It’s a quiet ride home. He watches Toy Story silently, still clutching his puppy and sucking his thumb.
We pull into the driveway and D comes bounding down the front steps of the porch. He comes around to the back passenger side and grabs Evie as I gather my things from the front seat. I hop out and open Lee’s door, un-buckle him, and set him on his feet, beside the car.
“Come on baby,” I say over my shoulder to him as I’m already halfway across the yard.
I get to the front steps and notice he’s not beside me. And he’s not behind me. He is standing right where I put him. Staring at the ground.
“Lee?” I say.
He looks up at me, his lip quivering, and bursts into tears.
I throw my things in the general direction of the porch and run to scoop him up. I carry him to a chair on the porch, set him on my lap, and squeeze him as tightly against my chest as I can manage. He wraps both arms around me and cries into my neck.
D and Evie peek out the door to make sure we’re okay.
And we are. We’re okay.
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that we all have bad days. And sometimes, we all just want to be held. I have walked through the front door crying multiple times, just wanting D to hug me for a minute.
Some days, you just need it. Regardless of your age, or your issues, or what happened to you that day, you just need a hug from someone who loves you. Nothing else will do.
And I forgot that yesterday. Lee does so much to help me during our daily pick up and drop off routine. He almost always carries his and Evie’s bag into and out of school and he ALWAYS holds the door open for Evie and I. He acts like such a big boy that sometimes it’s hard to remember that he is only 2 years old.
I wanted to hug Lee when I saw him crying at school, and I tried to, but he said he was okay, put on a brave face, and tried to be a big boy because he saw that I had my hands full.
But once we got home, and his Daddy had Evie, he remembered… he still needed that hug.
So I held him and rocked him against my chest until the tears stopped coming and his little body stopped shaking. He leaned back and looked at my shirt, wet and gloopy from his tears and snot, and started to giggle.
“Are we okay little man?” I ask him.
“Yes, we’re okay Mommy. Can I have some gummies and juice?”
We walk inside, stopping to hug Daddy and Evie, and have a great night.
I didn’t think anything else of it until I dropped him off at school this morning. As I was squeezing his cute little self he took my face in his hands, planted a big kiss on my lips, and said, “Mommy, go to work!”
“I love you, I hope you have the best day,” I say back to him.
I get almost to the front door of his daycare when I hear his footsteps behind me, I turn around to steal one more hug. “I love you too Mommy,” he says, before running back to eat his breakfast.
I know that he is so, so young and, luckily, I have a lot more hugs in store for me. But, one day, almost definitely sooner that I’d like to think about, he is going to turn to his significant other for those hugs.
The kind of hug you need after a bad day.
And I can only hope that, every once in a while, he might still need one of those from me.