Harlan came to visit for the weekend. We walked through the icy streets. We got a babysitter and went out to dinner and a movie (The King’s Speech). We went out for breakfast. He took Aidan to the office with him while I did a Baptiste HOT yoga class that knocked me out.

He got in late Thursday night, and I’d told Aidan daddy would be there when he woke up in the morning.

I watched some TV—Grey’s Anatomy! 30 Rock!—and at about 9:30 (halfway through Grey’s) went into the hallway and heard Aidan calling me. He was wide awake and grinning when I went upstairs. This happened several more times until it was almost 11 and he’d hoodwinked me into bringing him into my bed, even though he had no intention of sleeping.

“You can only come into my bed if you promise to sleep,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said.

Yeah right.

What he wanted to do was bring every one of his animals and blankets into my bed, roll on top of me and giggle. What he really was doing was waiting up for Harlan.

Harlan eventually showed up at 11:30 or so. He’d called, so he’d been alerted to the fact that there was a rambunctious, bleary-eyed scoundrel in his bed.

I was nodding off by then and Harlan sat down on the edge of the bed. Aidan crawled over me and reached out his hand to touch Harlan’s face. Harlan thought he was checking to see if he was real or some talking Skype head on my computer screen. He seemed satisfied. He grinned. He hugged him. He let Harlan put him back into his bed and fell quickly asleep. The next morning, Harlan was up making coffee and Aidan sauntered in and told him, “I love you, Daddy.” Harlan said he’d never done that before.

Yesterday afternoon, Harlan got all bundled up, picked up his bags and said good-bye. He explained to Aidan that we’d see each other in a couple weeks in New York and the week after that, he’d come home again for Aidan’s birthday. Aidan looked very serious and started gesticulating in the professorial way he does when he has something very important to explain.

“You go to work yesterday, Daddy. You don’t have to go to work again. You have to stay there. I want you to stay there. You don’t have to go to work, Daddy. You have to stay there.”

Harlan looked at me, stricken.

It is so hard for him to leave us. So hard for him to leave Aidan. It’s so hard for Aidan to understand why he has to go. And it’s so hard for me to be both parents while he’s gone.

This morning, I was taking him out of his car seat and he said, “Mommy, I really, really, really, really love you.”

I said, “I really, really, really, really love you.”

And he said, “I really, really, really, really, really, really love you.”

There just weren’t enough really’s to express it. I knew exactly how he felt. I buried my face in his and felt thankful to have the sweetest little boy in the world.