I miss my kids. As a result of their uncle being in town from Venezuela, they have had a week full of plans and I have not seen them since Monday evening. Even though I have had the opportunity to talk to them every night, it’s not quite the same.
The funny thing is that I was always of the opinion that I could handle extensive time away from my kids without it bothering me. In 2004, I traveled to San Francisco for a week for a conference, and I don’t think I missed them then as much as I do right now. Granted, my situation was very different at that time. I was only four months removed from splitting up with my wife and leaving the house, I was searching for answers regarding the direction of my life, and I was distracted by conference and the beauty of San Francisco.
Today, I have much more stability in my life. I have my new place and newfound personal direction. And it is clearer to me everyday that my kids provide me with that sense of stability I crave. My children are the reason I do what I do. Sure, I may make subtle comments from time to time about ‘the cost’ of being a parent, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I need them in my day to day. I need knowing I am going to pick them up after school and share some time with them. I need to know that I have to keep the pantry stocked with Fruit by the Foot, Gushers, popcorn, and fruit snacks. I love watching Daniel sit back and play Sonic on my PlayStation. I cherish playing Tag with Natalie and watching her crack up in unabashed fashion.
I have contemplated career opportunities that require travel and time away from home. I look at vacation plans and weekend getaways that keep me away from my kids. I think about how little time I actually spend with my children, and how this time away from them makes me appreciate them even more. And I have learned that being a parent is more than a responsibility. In many ways it’s a privilege because of all the rewarding moments that come with raising kids and watching them grow up and succeed. I see my kids as my vocation, and I know now, more than ever, that I am nothing without my children.