I asked if you wanted to come downstairs with mommy and when you immediately got distressed, I knew this day was off to a rough start.

Your daddy took over, holding you close and speaking soft, comforting words in your ears. When it was time to go he carried you down the stairs, despite your cries of protest. As he helped you put on your jacket, you raised the level of objection, making it known that you were not in favor of going out.

I thought this mood would pass. You’ve had bad mornings before. You get over it quickly.

But I was wrong.

With every building and intersection we passed, I wondered when you’d finally relax and settle. Just when I thought it was happening, you noticed it was nearly time for me to leave.

Your greater awareness of surroundings is both a blessing and a curse.

My heart broke as I saw your face contort in grief that Mommy was about to leave.

All you wanted was a day at home with us. All I wanted was to give that to you.

Instead, I let go of your hand, kissed your forehead and walked to the bus, the echo of your cries in my ear.

That’s how I left you.