The Words I Had to Say

Happy birthday!The thought came out of nowhere and enveloped me. I have to be home.  I need to be home.

I called home.

“Is SJ up? He didn’t fall asleep – did he?”

“No, why?”

“I want to see him.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, fine. Listen I’m going to leave the meeting early. I want to come home. I need to talk to SJ.”

On this day, my 8-year old had turned into a 9-year old. But the birthday felt anti-climactic. After all, we had had the birthday party the week before.

The day of celebration was muted. There was no birthday cake (he doesn’t like cake – I don’t get it either). SJ opened his gift in the morning. He ripped open the present, said thanks, and took the Lego Star Wars set into his room and began working on it. We didn’t even sing happy birthday.

So, the day went by.

SJ went off to school to school (he had a party at school for his classmates), and the rest of us went about our day. My mind was occupied with deadlines and queries and letters of introduction and papers to mark and all the rest of the stuff a solopreneur has to concern him/herself with.

Ho hum.

But November 10th has never been a regular day for me. The 10th is also my father’s birthday.My father passed away nine years before his last grandchild was born. The next day, November 11th, is the day my father died. It’s been nearly 20 years since he passed. While the sadness fades and memories become precious, these November days are not my favorite on the calendar.

And then SJ was born on November 10th.  The day was transformed. He turned a day that had been melancholy into a day of happiness.

His smile, his laughter, his sense of humor. He brings joy to Ms. MMK and I. How could I let his birthday go by and not let him know that? I had to get home and let him know the gift that he is to me.

By the time I got home, it was nearly 930. I drove home angry at myself for not leaving earlier. And I prayed. Please let SJ be awake. Please let me have a chance  to tell him what he means to me.

I dropped my stuff down in the foyer and went right to his bedroom. The room was quiet, and the covers were pulled up to his head.

I whispered his name.

“S.J.” No answer. I waited a moment and tried again.

“S.J.” Still no response.

I sighed and felt defeated. Why had I not responded to my own senses and gone right home? Why had I not lived in the moment? Why had I not told him how I felt earlier?

And then the covers came down.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I asked him if I could lay down with him for a little while. He smiled, “Sure.”

I put my arm around him, and I told him. I told him that I loved him, that he had made a sad day into a happy day, that he was special, that I was sorry I hadn’t told him earlier. I went on and on. When I finally stopped, he said, “Thank you.”

A minute later, I felt his body relax. His light snoring the only noise in the quiet bedroom. I stayed with him a few more minutes.

I didn’t want to leave.



19 thoughts on “The Words I Had to Say

    • Thanks. I do believe I will remember that for a long time to come.
      I was hoping my children would get better and more flexible when it comes to their diet. Please give me hope.

      • My sons still don’t like cake, and now that my oldest is off to college, let’s just saying he doesn’t make fruit or vegetables a priority. So I’m afraid I can offer no hope at this time. 😉

  1. One of my nephews doesn’t like icing, so he doesn’t like cake… and I don’t get that at all, cake should be one of the 7 wonders of the world!! But, beyond that, I think it’s lovely that you answered your internal calling to get home and be with SJ, what a special moment!

  2. So beautiful that you followed your instinct and got the chance.

    (I didn’t know SJ’s bday was in November. My daughter’s 8th bday was November 9th. Happy birthday to him!)

    • How many times do I say nah and don’t follow through? I’m so glad I did.
      Wow – our children are so close – cool. I hope she had a a great birthday.

  3. This is actually my third time reading this. I had intended to comment before but didn’t because I thought it deserved something more than powerful.

    But that is what I have got, this is powerful. I liked it… a lot.

    • Thanks – that means alot to me.
      I have to say it was one of those posts that felt right. To have someone I respect see that as well is meaningful.

  4. Yep, those moments are special. Making it home in time to say those words to your children on important days will make them feel loved.

  5. Great post! Those moments are some of the best dad moments. I make sure to tell each of my 3 kids how much I love them everyday.

    I recently had to write a letter to my oldest daughter for her Senior year retreat (Catholic school). I took the opportunity to tell her how much she means to me, how I felt the night she was born, how much she has changed my life, & how proud I am.

    She walked in from the retreat & walked over to hug me. She said that my letter was so great and it made her cry (in a good way).

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