Saturday was a rocky sort of day, in ways we hadn't seen in awhile, and so had been lulled into complacency. It started out rocky for different reasons, but peaked when later that afternoon, for a frightening twenty minutes I couldn't find L. in our Target store--not because he had absent-mindedly wandered away but--and this is the terrifying part--he walked away from me in a fit of anger while I was checking out, and disappeared into the yawning behemoth that is any Target store. One minute he was in line behing me kicking me in the shins, and the next he was gone. It is one thing, I quickly realized, to lose your child for a few minutes by accident (been there--no fun), and quite another to have them lose you--on purpose. Because you can't just pick up your 11-year old and carry him out of the store, the way you could when he was three, or even six. Because the older they get, the angrier you get when they pull a stunt like that, and the anger is scary, too. Because I know that one day, when L. is old enough, he could just walk away, and there's nothing we could do about it.
But we're not there yet; he's not allowed to just walk away and disappear.
And he's not allowed to imagine I wouldn't miss him, or not care.