Last night, I witnessed a touching moment, where a two years old boy was reunited with his father, after a five weeks separation. The dad had recently expanded his marketing internet company and had to travel to Vancouver for couple of weeks, leaving the boy with his mom.
It was one of those candid moments that would make anyone`s eyes teary. Seeing this little boy`s reaction reminded me of the times when my children were small, and my husband and I had to live apart for half an year. Though it was a bit different, because my boys were older at that time. Y. was eight and M. was ten years old. We didn't have the luxury of talking to their dad online, or see him on Skype. These things did not exist back then. We were only talking on the phone and that was once a week.
My kids missed their dad, but being older they had an understanding of the situation. They knew their dad was working abroad and that he would come back. They were able to calculate how much time was left until his return. We had a big wall calendar on the kitchen wall, and they were crossing the days daily.
But how do you explain the notion of time to a two years old kid, when he cannot grasp yet its meaning? At his age, he doesn’t make a difference between tomorrow, next week or next year. Maybe tomorrow is the furthest moment that he can project his dad`s return. Imagine he might wait anxiously for that tomorrow to arrive, only to see that his dad is not yet arrived. And when that happens for a few days on a roll, his disappointment grows accordingly. No matter how much you would try to reassure him that his other parent will return, he will not believe you.
He might even feel abandoned or not loved by the dad. Or worst, considered himself guilty for his departure. He would not know how to explain all these mixed emotions to himself or anyone else. How could he, when his understanding and vocabulary are only at the beginning of their potential.
Yesterday, my friend, her son and I went to the airport to pick up her husband. Although she had mentioned it to her son that his dad was returning, he still had some doubts. The moment she showed him his dad coming out through the gate, his eyes instantly got teary. He looked at his dad, then at his mother and mumbled between tears: “Daddy came!" That's all he could say the entire evening. He was glued to his dad's arms repeating the same sentence.