Again with the guilt

My father-in-law is the "Safety Patrol Officer" at Mallory's school, so every morning after I see Mallory off to her classroom, Phoebe and I go hang out in front of the church until Bob/Papa gets through herding people safely across the crosswalk, at which point he takes Phoebe to his house and I go on to work. (Mallory's school is right by the church; the preschool is in the church. Just to clarify. Anyway.)

Lately Phoebe has devised a new game, wherein she instructs me to stand at one end of the sidewalk while she runs away from me, toward the church doors. She looks back every few steps and calls, "Stay there, Mommy! Don't go anywhere!" When she reaches the doors, she turns back and we wave to each other and play peekaboo and so forth, and then she'll yell, "I'm coming back to you!" and runs back down the sidewalk to me for a hug. Repeat ten or twelve times -- that's our morning game. People walking past always comment on how happy she is during this time, and it's true, she's just always beaming and skipping around and really enjoying herself.

Until, that is, Papa finishes his duties and comes over and says, "Okay, Phoebe, it's time to go!" And it's like all the joy is just sucked right out of her. She hangs her head and her mouth turns down and she looks like she'll never be happy again. She doesn't cry, she doesn't hang on to me and plead with me not to leave her. She just looks pathetically sad.

And I know, I know she loves her Papa, I know that she's fine all day long and that as soon as they get home she has toast and watches Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and she gets her happiness back and it's no problem. I know that I'm not scarring her for life because I have to go to work. I know that she's really, really, fine.

But man, I hate seeing her looking so sad.


aimee said...

Phoebe is one smart kid.