Daddy is at Work
It is an answer that my kids get a lot.
My precious wife is doing a superb job of replicating her character in our kids. It is a true joy for me to think about the kind of people my children will become because of the influence of such a woman upon their lives.
I spend a lot of time at work. Sometimes more than I need to, but that might have to wait for another day. For the entire time that I have been in the Navy, I have been leaving for work in the morning before most people are getting out of bed.
This includes my kids.
It is part of their routine to ask where I am while they are getting ready for the day… or for them to just not ask at all anymore since it is normal for me to be away in the mornings. The standard answer is usually given.
Daddy is at Work
So yesterday my wife and I went to a meeting after I got off of work. I am behind on a few deadlines, so I stay late at work to get caught up. I left straight from work to go to the meeting. We left the meeting at about 9 PM. By the time we got home, my kids were already in bed. I spent another day not seeing them at all.
As we were riding down the road, Jessica told me that my youngest decided to snuggle up in my bed after I went to work. When Jessica came back into our room, my sweet little child asked her the standard question and got the standard answer.
Jessica asked me a question…
“Does it hurt for you to hear that your kids ask about you when you are not home?”
“Or is it encouraging since you know your kids are thinking about you?”
“Yeah… it kind of hurts.”
But then I started thinking about this.
Why does it hurt?
It really is a matter of perspective. I look at this from the perspective that I am missing so much, my kids seem to be growing up so fast, and they don’t have me around. I miss them. They miss me.
Here is what started to stir these thoughts around for me…
It does not hurt when Jessica tells me she misses me when I am away. I have spent some hunting trips away from home for a week or two at a time and when Jessica tells me she misses me, it really doesn’t hurt. I don’t feel sad. I don’t ache to be home.
So why do I feel that way after a long day without my kids? Do I love them more than my wife? Do I reason that Jessica’s understanding protects her while the kids are still vulnerable in their ignorance?
I do not love my kids more than my wife.
Her understanding vs. their ignorance… that may be.
What if it is perspective? I have this feeling like I HAVE to be home with my kids. I have this feeling that I am doing them a disservice and ruining their little lives if I am not home.
But what if my perspective is wrong?
What if my kids need me to be gone?
Check this out. My kids are going to define normal for their lives based on what is common for them now. If it is common for me to be gone often, then the normal for them is that Daddy spends a lot of time away from home. If I can keep a very deep emotional connection to my kids for the duration of the time they live at home and protect the security they feel in our relationship, then normal for them looks like peace and security in relationships even when not physically near.
I am not saying that I am going to find ways to stay out of the house in order to try and develop this in my kids. Absolutely not!!
But it is something to think about.
If security in a relationship for my kids looks like face time and close physical proximity, then what happens when I leave? What happens when they grow up and business or school takes them or their significant other away for extended periods of time?
Maybe it is good for my young kids to hear my wife say, “Daddy is at Work,” and then for them to feel the warmth, love, and connection to me when I am around.
Could this build that kind of security in our relationship that might not have otherwise developed?
And maybe I am just belligerently over thinking it…