When I got back from my business trip, I saw my son’s drawing of his “new mommy” – The Woman in the Picture Was Known from the Cafe

I’ve never been good at being away from my family. Working one week a month in a different city was supposed to be a great career move, but I find myself missing my husband Shawn and my son Marcus more than I ever thought possible.

A woman holding her smartphone while riding in an airplane | Source: Pexels

Every time I step off that plane and see their smiling faces waiting for me, it feels like coming home after a long, exhausting journey. This time was no different.

I returned home late Friday night and was welcomed with hugs and kisses. Shawn had made my favorite lasagna, and Marcus had a new drawing to show me. My heart swelled with love and contentment. Little did I know, that was about to change.

A man kissing a woman on the forehead | Source: Pexels

Saturday morning, I decided to do some cleaning. With a cup of coffee in one hand and my hair tied up in a messy bun, I made my way to Marcus’ room.

It was a typical eight-year-old’s room: toys scattered everywhere, crayons on the floor, and stacks of papers with his various drawings. I started picking up and smiling at the doodles of dinosaurs, rockets, and family portraits. Then I saw it.

A child's drawing of my family | Source: Pexels

A drawing titled “Me and my new Mommy.” My heart stopped. NEW MOMMY? My hands shook as I stared at the picture. It was Marcus, smiling brightly, holding hands with a woman who was definitely not me. She had blonde hair and wore big, red earrings.

“No way… Shawn wouldn’t… would he?” I muttered to myself, feeling my eyes sting with tears. I slumped onto Marcus’ bed, clutching the picture. The thought of Shawn cheating on me and introducing our son to another woman felt like a punch to the gut.

A woman covering her face with her hands | Source: Unsplash

I was about to spiral into a full-blown panic when I noticed something else in the picture. There, in Marcus’ innocent handwriting, was the name of our favorite family cafe: “At Jack’s.”

I had to know the truth. There was no way I could sit on this information. I wiped my tears and took a deep breath. I needed a plan.

“Hey Shawn,” I called out, trying to keep my voice steady as I walked into the living room where he was reading. “How about we go out for brunch tomorrow? Maybe At Jack’s?”

A man reading a book | Source: Unsplash

Shawn looked up from his book, a smile spreading across his face. “Sounds great, Harper. It’s been a while since we went there together.”

The next day, we headed to the cafe. Marcus was excited, chattering about pancakes and syrup. On the other hand, I felt like I was walking towards my doom. My mind raced with thoughts of confronting this mysterious “new mommy” and what it would mean for our family.

A person pouring syrup on pancakes | Source: Pexels

We arrived at the cafe, and I scanned the room, my heart pounding. We sat at our usual table, and I tried to act normal, though my mind was anything but. I kept glancing around, hoping I was wrong. And then, I saw her.

The woman from Marcus’ drawing. She had the same blonde hair and those distinctive red earrings. She was a waitress, carrying a tray of coffee cups, and she noticed us almost immediately. My stomach twisted into knots. She walked over to our table, a warm smile on her face.

A waitress cleaning a table | Source: Pexels

“Good morning! What can I get for you folks today?” she asked cheerily.

I took a deep breath and looked at Marcus, who was eagerly flipping through the menu. “Honey, is that your ‘new mommy?’” I asked, my voice trembling slightly.

Marcus looked up, his eyes wide. “Yes, that’s Jessica!”

Shawn’s face turned crimson. “How did you…”

Jessica smiled even broader, kneeling to Marcus’ level. “Tell her, Marcus. She needs to know what you feel.”

A little boy wearing a full sleeves white shirt | Source: Pexels

“What do you mean?” Shawn asked, looking genuinely confused.

“Oh, stop, as if you don’t know,” I snapped, pulling out the picture from my purse. “About this.”

Shawn looked bewildered as I handed him the drawing. “It’s Marcus’.”

He took the picture, his brow furrowing. “Again, please. What’s happening?”

I felt a wave of frustration and hurt wash over me. “I found this yesterday while cleaning Marcus’ room. I saw the name of this cafe and had to know what was going on. Marcus called her his ‘new mommy.’”

A man and woman in a cafe | Source: Pexels

“But it’s nonsense,” Shawn said, shaking his head. He turned to Marcus, trying to keep his voice calm. “Marcus, buddy, tell your mom.”

Marcus looked up at me, his big brown eyes filled with a mixture of confusion and honesty. He pointed to Jessica, the waitress. “I wish she were my mommy.”

My heart sank. “But why, honey?”

Marcus glanced at Jessica, who gave him an encouraging nod. “You’re missing all the time. But Jessica is so kind to me. She brings me pancakes with funny faces on them. She likes my drawings.”

A little boy hugging his father | Source: Freepik

Jessica knelt beside Marcus, her face soft and understanding. “He showed me this picture. What did I tell you, Marcus?”

“To speak to Mom and tell her what I feel,” Marcus replied, his voice small but sincere.

At that moment, I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. They streamed down my face as I realized how much my little boy needed me. He needed his mom, not just physically, but emotionally. I was always gone, always working, and he found comfort in someone else because I wasn’t there.

A little boy crying | Source: Unsplash

I knelt and pulled Marcus into a tight hug, feeling his small arms wrap around me. “I’m so sorry, baby. I didn’t know you felt this way. I promise I’ll do better.”

Shawn put a hand on my shoulder, his voice softening. “Harper, you’re a great mom. We just need to figure out a way to make this work.”

I nodded, still holding Marcus close. “I’ll talk to my boss. I’ll quit these trips if I have to. You’re more important than my job, Marcus. I promise I’ll be here for you.”

A woman hugging a crying little boy | Source: Unsplash

Jessica stood up, giving us some space. “I’m sorry if I overstepped. I just wanted Marcus to feel happy and safe while he was here.”

I wiped my tears and managed a small smile. “Thank you, Jessica. You’ve been really kind to him. I appreciate it.”

As we finished our brunch, the tension slowly melted away. We talked and laughed, and I felt a renewed sense of purpose. I needed to be there for my family, no matter what.

A woman giving ice cream cones to a little boy | Source: Freepik

When we got home, I immediately called my boss. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but I explained that I needed to stop the business trips. My boss was surprisingly understanding, and we worked out a new arrangement that allowed me to stay home more.

That evening, as I tucked Marcus into bed, he looked up at me with a sleepy smile. “Are you really going to be home more, Mommy?”

A close-up of a woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

I kissed his forehead, my heart swelling with love. “Yes, sweetheart. I’m going to be here with you every day. No more long trips.”

He hugged me tightly. “I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, Marcus. More than anything in the world.”

Shawn joined us, sitting on the edge of the bed and wrapping his arms around both of us. “We’re a team, remember? We’ll figure everything out together.”

A mother putting her son to sleep | Source: Pexels

As I lay in bed that night, Shawn’s arms around me, I felt a deep sense of peace. Our family was stronger than ever, and I knew we could face anything as long as we were together. The drawing that had once filled me with fear now reminded me of the importance of being present.

And from that day on, I made a promise to myself to always put my family first. Because no job, no matter how important, could ever compare to the love we shared.

A loving couple | Source: Unsplash