Love for the Routine

I approach this blog with trepidation. Following yesterday’s entry, it is obvious there is very little about my life and my day-to-day that is routine.

Perhaps that’s a good thing? Perhaps that is a blessing in disguise? Not having the same thing to do every day. Not having the same actions to perform like some robot on automatic pilot. Isn’t variety supposed to be the spice of life?

I guess there is some truth to that philosophy, but as I wrote yesterday, lack of discipline begets lack of routine which, in the long run, begets lack of accomplishment.

Still, there really is not one thing I can think of that is routine in my every day. I guess you can say pulling the covers closer to my body as I mumble the words, “I love you, too” to my wife as she heads out the door for her hour-long commute to work is routine. (I am a sunnavabitch, aren’t I?) I suppose fixing myself an obscene amount of coffee every morning as I try to get my brain out of first gear is routine. I would assume in the most abstract of cases checking Facebook, Twitter and ESPN.com every morning before I decide to tackle my real work can be considered a routine.

In all seriousness, however, structure in my day is as fleeting as the breeze.

There is one exception. It is something that, technically, can be categorized as dynamic, but the fact I get to do it every day – okay, almost every day – fills me with happiness, joy, and a riveting sense of completion. I’m talking about picking up my kids in the afternoon.

In order to understand what I mean, I first need to provide some background information. I’m divorced and my kids have primary residence with their mother. My ex and I are in the small minority of split-households with no concrete or court mandated schedule regarding our kids. Quite literally, we play every day by ear. For the most part, I pick them up every afternoon following school. Still, given how varied my social schedule can get, there is nothing really set in stone. My ex and I usually work out high level details the week before and coordinate on a day-to-day basis regarding the kids.

That being said, I so thoroughly look forward to picking up my kids and sharing the afternoon with them. I get to ask them how their day went, what new and interesting things they learned in school, and what’s going on in general with their lives. I get to help them with their homework and school projects. I get to cook them dinner and show off to them as we sit together and watch Jeopardy. It’s not always 100% like that, but it is a part of the responsibilities I need to complete as a dad, and it’s enough for me to call a routine.

The more I think about it, the more I know how lost I would be without that component in my life. Is it always convenient? No. Is it always fun? Not exactly. Still, it’s fills my life with purpose and meaning, and when I see the accomplishments of my children, be it in the classroom or on the athletic field, it fills me with such an incredible feeling of love that cannot adequately be put into words.

And love is the most appropriate word to describe this routine. I love getting to pick up my kids. I love being a dad to them. I love being in love with those two little people who are closer to being in college than they are to being in diapers. I know I have to cherish these moments. I need to absorb every ounce of emotion my time with my kids generates. I need to completely immerse myself in my role as father, educator, philosopher, counselor, and consultant to my kids. Their childhood only comes around once, and before I know it they’ll both be off to college, pursuing their dreams and taking their own steps into adulthood.

I’m afraid that when that time comes, my only routine will be to sit around and miss my kids.

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