I’ve been in Arizona since Wednesday for a conference, and I miss my little man.

The hotel is on Native American land, and they do a valiant job of cultural appropriation that manages to skirt demeaning, though just barely. The ballroom I’m in all day is large and burgundy and gold and windowless. We wear our “exhibitor” tags with humility among the roomful of surgeons and exchange small talk like, “Yesterday this room was hot; today it’s cold.” Or, “did you hear about the Western town you can go to and take pictures dressed up in old-timey Western clothes?”

I am trying to take advantage of the things I don’t get enough of at home: quiet dinners with just me and my book; long nights of uninterrupted sleep; early morning runs against a backdrop of red sunrise and sharp gray mountains.

But it’s just a temporary fix. I’d trade it all for a hug from Hugh, his chubby cheek pressed against mine for a moment before he twists out of my grasp. Or our bustling family dinners with teenagers, sisters, partners, friends. Especially the thought of running instead of the actual doing.

Last night, I had a semi-revelation. Sitting at dinner in a nice restaurant, I watched a woman next to me enjoying her candlelight dinner with her six year-old son. She would laugh out loud at something he said and sip on her glass of wine. He said something about, “and then Finland did this,” and she gasped appropriately in awe. At the end of their dinner, she told the waiter, “that’s the best hamburger he said he’s ever had.” (And you can bet what I’m ordering from room service tonight.)

I started to text Tasha the following: “I want MORE kids.” But then I looked at them again and realized that it wasn’t the family with two boys sitting at another table that captivated me, but the focused attention of the mom and the son. It doesn’t mean I don’t want more kids, but maybe it was meant to be that we are raising our boys one at a time.

Tomorrow, I head home. I’m going to ask Tasha to bring Hugh to baggage claim. I can’t wait to see what he does when he sees the carousel take off with the luggage and all their glorious luggage wheels.

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