This was published previously on Rediff
Live your life without regrets they say, but most of us end up collecting one or two along the way.
I was getting ready to go to work that morning, just like any other week-day. Now this was always the tricky part, the moment of separation from you. I tried explaining a few times, but I know it’s hard to understand when you’re just eight months old. I usually got the baby sitter to trick you into checking out what surprise was hiding under the bed (a toy or candy), and made sure you were happily preoccupied before I quietly slipped out.
That morning the office pick-up was a bit delayed and I settled into another game of peek-a-boo with you as I waited. Time flew and suddenly I heard the familiar, insistent honking from the street below. In my hurry and confusion I carried you out with me to the car. Realizing my mistake I called to the babysitter, but you immediately clasped your hands tightly around my neck, sensing that someone or something was about to tear us apart.
There were other people waiting inside, and we were running late. Gently but firmly, I removed your arms from around my neck and handed you to the baby sitter. There was no time to distract you with a candy, so I just said ‘Bye sweetheart, mommy will be back soon,’ as I stepped into the car.
The door slammed shut and you blinked in horror, as if a monster had just swallowed me up! As we drove off, I heard you agitatedly and heart-breakingly cry out for me.
By the time I returned, you were fast asleep. You’d cried and cried, the babysitter said, before wearily falling asleep. I kissed your still damp cheeks goodnight and lay down next to you with a heavy heart.
Now you’re all grown up and don’t need me around so much. But if I could turn the clock back, I would step off that car, ask the world to go to hell and scoop you up in my arms instead.
I’m sorry my love, for that morning and for all the days that I chose to go to work, leaving you behind at home.
This post is the 18th in a series of 26 posts that I am writing throughout the month of April as part of the A to Z challenge 2016.