Jack isn’t happy today. I brought my suitcase upstairs to begin packing, and Jack knew something was up right away.
“Are we going to see Grandma in Montreal?” he asked.
“No, no, we’re not Jack,” I replied. I saw a shadow pass over his eyes but he sat quietly for a pause before he said,
“Are we going all the way to the east coast?”
“No, Jack,” I said. “Just mummy is going away this time. I’m going to Mexico with Aunt Janet.”
I know Jack doesn’t like it when I’m away, so I’ve been keeping the trip quiet. I didn’t want to spoil more days than necessary. Typically, Jack is very zen, and he doesn’t often get emotional, but I heard a catch in his voice as he asked,
“How long will you be gone, mummy?”
“13 days, Bubba. We’re going to pack up Aunt Janet’s house because she’s sold it. And since we’ll be near to it, Aunt Janet and I are going to go to the beach, so I can see the Pacific Ocean. I’ve only seen it in pictures,” I said.
“13 days is a long time! And you’re going to the beach without me! I’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean either.” He was starting to sound a bit petulant.
“I know, it sucks, Bubba. I wish you could come with me, but you’d need to fly on an airplane, in a crate, away from Mummy, and I know you wouldn’t like that.” We’d had this same conversation when I went to Russia.
“I would be afraid of that….” then a longish pause and, “How far away is Mexico and the Pacific Ocean? Is it as far away as the east coast? Is the ocean as big as our ocean?”
“It’s a lot farther away, Jack. If we drove, it would take almost a week to get there.”
“A whole week. That’s really far away.”
“Yup, and it’s bigger than our ocean, which is the North Atlantic Ocean. A lot bigger. The Pacific is the biggest ocean on the entire planet. Here, let’s sit down with the Atlas, and I can show you. After that, I’ll show you pictures of where I’m going.”
And so we spent the rest of our afternoon looking at maps and pictures and talking about my trip. Eventually, I started packing, and Jack got quiet again. Finally, he said,
“I’m going to miss you mummy, and it isn’t fair for you to go to the beach without me, but… I hope you have a good time, and I hope you bring me home a nice present. Maybe something that smells like the beach. Also, Mummy, I don’t think you should take those shoes. You’re clumsy in those shoes. And you’ll trip if you wear the Palazzo pants. What else have you put in there?”
Sheesh, why do men always think they can comment on a woman’s clothing?”