Wednesday, February 13, 2013


There's something about leaving my boys and my dear, awesome wife that is very hard.

I realized that yet again this morning as I departed for the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston. I'll be gone six days, an eternity for Michelle and myself, too. The boys have no concept of time, but they know I'm leaving, and they reacted in different, yet heartfelt ways.

I got up early and made a scrambled eggs and toast breakfast for Nathaniel, who also wakes up early most mornings (and is my alarm clock for the most part). As we were sitting and eating, he looked at me and asked whether I was going to work, which has become a standard, daily question.

Yes, I answered, and I'm flying someplace, too, this time.

He mulled this for a moment.
"Will you call me?" he asked.
I assured him I would.
"When?" he asked.
"When I land," I replied.
"Don't forget," he said.

To sweeten the pot, I told Nathaniel that I would Skype with him when I arrived in Boston – and show him the hotel room where I’d be staying.

“Wow,” he said, his eyes wide.

How cool to get such a reaction from an event that to any grownup would be incredibly boring.

Isaiah has an ear appointment (check the tubes) that morning, so Michelle and he dropped me off at the airport on their way to the otolaryngology office. Isaiah was happily playing with his “good guys” – two Luke Skywalker and one “Dee-Dah” (read: Yoda) figurines, plus a baby Elmo doll – when I got out of the car, grabbed my travel items from the trunk and gave him a goodbye kiss. I walked toward the terminal door, and when I turned around, Michelle motioned to me, pointing toward the back and miming.

I returned to the car, and peered in through the open window. Isaiah was sobbing.

I gave him another kiss and told him I would call and would be back home soon. He sniffled, but he didn’t seem satisfied with the answer.

This is why it’s hard to leave home. My family actually misses me. For different reasons, but still.

And I miss them. Already.

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