I started to put the car in drive. Then, I looked up to see one of my seven year old boys running out to my car. I thought he must have left something in the backseat. Or maybe he wanted to tell me not to forget to do something before I left for a long day away at work. Nope. He surprised me. I opened the door and he quickly wrapped his skinny long arms around me. Oh, a hug. He wanted to give me a giant unprompted driveway hug. I held him. Then, I pulled him up onto my lap and asked him a question I already knew the answer to.
“Wanna help me drive around the driveway?”
I didn’t even need to wait for his response. I started to close the door when all of the sudden, another seven year old boy had arrived at my door. His twin brother must have noticed his absence. Or mine. He showed up for a driveway hug too. He assessed the situation and climbed onto my lap for a drive around the circle. Unexpected running hugs from seven year old twin boys deserve a reward. We sat happily crowded together in the front seat. I put the car in drive. They helped me steer and reached their feet down to press on the brake or more accurately, slam on the brake. My cup flew to the passenger side floor board. Cup holders can only do so much. They giggled and may have felt like the coolest two seven year olds on the planet. One loop around and they quickly exited the car after I told them how much I love them.
I’ve been leaving my husband and boys for twelve(-ish) hour weekend option shifts away for seven years. I’ve tried not to sneak away. I’ve wanted them to know I am leaving and will come back home when they’re sleeping. I’ve always hugged my boys repeatedly, kissed my husband, held them tightly and then had to let go. I’m always running late. Always. Over the years, I’ve left screaming babies and sobbing, pleading toddlers, “will you pleeeeeeease not go to wook today?” But I have to. You’ll have fun. You’ll have a good day. You can tell me all about it tomorrow. I always say. I always come back. I say that too. But it’s hard.
So, this morning, when I was on the brink of running late, like I have been for the past seven years, I could have rolled down the window and said, “I’m running late! I’ve gotta go!” But l couldn’t resist my excited, running seven year old boy, that has outgrown his pants, and noticed I had left my parent’s house without a proper departing hug. I had just hugged his brother at the kitchen counter. My mom said, “Pretty soon those legs are going to be touching the ground.” Yes. But not today. I held and squeezed him tightly.
The harsh reality of working in an emergency department teaches you that sometimes moms and dads don’t make it back home. You should always hug readily and tightly those you love before you leave for a long day away. They should always know how very much they mean to you. Just in case.
I will never regret running to the time clock today. Running because I spent an extra couple minutes hugging my first born twin boys in the driveway. And driving dangerously, or so they thought, around the tiny circle driveway in their mama’s lap. I hope they will always remember the sweet moments we have before I leave for work. Not so much the crazy mama getting ready moments, but the family room, kitchen, driveway, and garage hugs.
I always get a little emotional when I leave, as I am driving on the highway. For a lot of reasons, but I always think how hard it is to leave them, how enormously I love them, and how lucky I am to have them to return back home to. I always think…What if I don’t make it back home to them?
Will they know how extraordinary they are? Will they know how much joy they bring me? Will they know that the world is better because they’re here? Will they know that it’s always worth being a few minutes late to hug the ones you love the very most?
The answer today and the answer I would love to think that they know everytime one of us leaves each other is, “Yes.” Always. Some things will always be worth being late for. Driveway hugs just so happen to be one of them.