A good day for Number Four Nephew is being able to say goodbye to everyone…because he’s leaving. Usually he’s the one being left, and it makes him so sad. At the age of two, his world is bounded by the closed front door -- a fact not easily understood by his big, adventurous heart .
When he’s the one staying behind, he hovers nearby, beginning his goodbyes long before people are out the door; once they are outside, his cries of farewell become louder, and often include tears. He’ll stand at the open door, calling after them when they’re long out of sight. It tears at my heart every time.
So, it’s such a joy to be able to take him with me when I go out. Calling for him to get his shoes signals a treat and lights up his face like nothing else can. He’ll say it over and over again: “Get shoes on? Get shoes on?” And he’s reaching for the door handle long before I’m ready to head out.
He gives all he’s got to these goodbyes; he wants everyone to know he is going outside, it’s his turn, he is the one leaving this time. He holds my hand as we take the one little step down from porch to sidewalk, and, clutching my finger, he calls out “Bye, Mummy! Bye! Bye, Mummy!” From that point on, it doesn’t matter to him where we go: he’s outside!