Even though my kids do not live with me, I do get to see them every day. I am very blessed that way. If I don’t see them on a particular day, I make sure to call them and speak to them, usually right before they go to bed. It is primarily my duty to call them, wish them well, tell them I love them, and phone-kiss them goodnight.
On occasion, they will have plans with their mother, and I rely on her to have my kids call me. My ex-wife and I have always partnered well as parents, and even after we split up, we maintained that good sense of teaming when it comes to the kids. We do not have a set schedule with regards to who has the kids when, and this daily flexibility is very welcome given how spontaneous and last minute life tends to be.
Tonight was the exception to the varying routine. My ex picked up the kids at school and took them to a small birthday get-together at a neighbor’s house. The kids love playing with their friends, and our neighbors are more like extended family to my children. I expected she would have the kids up past their bed time, so I was not concerned when they did not call at their ‘normal’ time. However, when 11:00 PM came and went, I became a bit worried.
Turns out my ex lost track of time and the kids fell asleep on the way home. No big deal, really, but it was a bit disappointing. A whole day came and went without me so much as getting to say hi to my kids. It’s a very hollowing feeling for me. As much as I love my independence and space and ‘freedom’ now that I live on my own, I need the sound of their voices every day. I need the soul enrichment that comes from hearing the love in my daughter’s voice, and the sense of pride that comes from hearing the curiosity in my son’s. Want to know what the four greatest words in the English language are? “I love you, daddy.”
So I sit at home feeling a little blue and a little down that I missed a piece of my life today. Even though I have a big weekend planned with my kids (they’re sleeping over Friday AND Saturday night), I am bummed that I did not get to talk to them today. It really is amazing how much I depend on them as much as they depend on me.
I think that in everything that is said about parenting and parental responsibility, there is one thing that is often overlooked. If you do it right, the parent-child relationship is not a hierarchal one. Rather, it’s circular. Better yet, is symbiotic. I know that I can’t live without my kids. I don’t even want to find out what that would be like. I always thought I could pursue a career that forced me to relocate, but in my heart I know I just could not be far away from my kids.
I need the daily interaction with them. I need the ability to pick up Daniel and toss him on my shoulder. I need to be able to hold Natalie tight and kiss her cheek ever so softly. I need to be able to be Superman in their eyes everyday. I need to be there to see them smile and hold them when they cry. I need to fill the void that exists every time I am not with them. And there is no job, woman or circumstance that even comes close to giving me what I get when I am with my kids. Like I said earlier, I am very blessed.