I learned to sneak goodbyes in during casual conversations with Mikey on our 6 minute drive to school every morning. I let him know that I loved him and had good wishes for his day before the left turn into the lot. Sometimes I teased him about jumping out of the car and hugging him in front of the guys. He didn't think this was funny. Maybe the humor was lost in the delivery. Even if he didn't respond to my wishes and whatnot's, I felt better having said it out loud to him.
Still...I was bothered this. I mentioned it a few times to Mikey but really just hit a wall. He didn't think it was an issue and was kind of uncomfortable talking about it. Clearly, it was not a big deal to him. I never ordered him to say a goodbye and show mom a little attention in the car. There were no threats, demands, ultimatums or bribes. I simply let him know that it bothered me and hurt my feelings. I just got used to saying goodbye to the door as it closed almost immediately after opening.
So Christmas break came and went and Monday rolled around before any of us were really ready. Early mornings were back and unanswered salutations from preteens were soon to follow.
As per routine...I dropped the littles off to school first and then headed home to pick up Mikey. When it was time...we were out the door and on the road. We had a casual conversation about his Star Wars lego clones. I did my very best to understand the difference between the clones and the separatists and who was on what side of good and evil. I mean when did Star Wars become so much more than Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker?
Before I knew it...we pulled up to the school.
"Okay...goodbye Mikey...have a good day...I love you...reach your potential and be smart!"
"Okay Mom, thanks, bye."
Before the door was closed.
In front of other kids.
A l l o n h i s o w n.
"Okay Mom, I love you too. Bye."
My heart smiled and hasn't stopped.