5:25pm – Stephanie is rushing them out the door. Football and cheerleading practice begins at 6 and they can’t be late!
5:27pm – Kids don’t even realize I won’t be home tonight. They have forgotten that I’m traveling. It’s understandable…I do that a lot these days.
5:28pm to 5:32pm– The kisses & hugs begin. Christopher gives me not 1, not 2, but 3 big hugs in the span of 3 minutes. Ava sits down next to me and asks me where I’m going. I tell her and give her a big hug. She is smiling at me and she wants to know when SHE gets to ride on a plane again. “It’s been at LEAST 3 years!”, she says.
5:33pm – Kids at the door, I hug Stephanie as she turns to leave. We’ve had a good day today. A nice lunch together, got some chores accomplished. A quick kiss, a little longer hug and then she’s off. Christopher gives me one more hug (he’s ALWAYS been affectionate!) and they all turn and walk down the steps to our front porch. They walk down the hill that is our front yard and they are smiling and waving goodbye. As the go to get in the car, they blow me kisses.
5:35pm – Stephanie pulls down the street. I see the kids waving from the back seat and each one is smiling. “See you soon, Dad!” they both call out. I see Steph giving me the “parade wave.” The car pulls away and I watch as it cruises up our street. The sun is shining, there is a cool breeze and just like that…they are gone.
Many times I have wondered if I have done the right things. This job of mine, it’s a great gig. I love it and I have many tell me how lucky I am. Funny thing is…I DO feel lucky. But not because of my job. I’m lucky because my family understands that what I do is important to me and it keeps us in our home. I am very fortunate to have a good job, that I get to go to some cool places and that I work with so many professional television production and technical teams. But what it boils down to is that my family loves me. Nothing else really matters and as I watch my kids growing, I know they understand me. They may not like my job all the time, but they understand it’s a part of who I am and that I am doing the best I can to support them so they can enjoy their time as kids.
In the past few years, I have spent a lot of my time wondering and worrying. I’m constantly aware of how much I am missing and it’s hard. A part of me wants to stay home, to be here with them 100% of the time. But lets face it…that’s not possible. Even if I was home 100% of the time, I’d still have to work somewhere and who is to say that it would be a job that would allow me to be at all of my son’s games or my daughter’s performances. Nothing is guaranteed in life and so…I am working on the belief that I do what is best for me and my family. I love this job of mine but it doesn’t define me. My wife & kids, my family, my friends, my home is who I am. And I hope that the time I spend with them when I am home is what they will remember in the end. Not the being gone part. The being gone part is a necessary evil.
My kids are getting bigger every day and I have come to terms with the fact that I haven’t been with them every single second of their lives. But the time I do spend with them, I try to make special. It’s those moments that I think they will remember and it’s in their smiles as they walk down our front lawn that I realize that despite all of my worries, they understand and they appreciate. And, in the end, that’s the best I can do.