This week is unusual. I am heading to work in the morning, my kids aren’t leaving their room until I have gone downstairs to get ready, and I am returning only to be part of the dinner, bath, and bed routine. This is the plan for Monday through Thursday, and it is weird. Next school year, it will be the norm.
That brings up all kinds of thoughts and feelings.
I remember times going in to my dad’s work as a child. It was exciting and special. There were reams of paper, the computer lab, different smells, and just being with dad. He was working or getting something, but that was ok with me.
Thursday, I took my son to my work because I had to distribute some new cameras to teachers before tomorrow’s apple picking field trip. I usually don’t go in on my days off, but this was an exception. The teachers were happy to get the cameras, and quite a few people enjoyed playing with my son. As he begins to build his memories, I hope my place of work is a happy one for him.
During the school year, I get a wonderful opportunity to spend a lot of time with my children because of my part-time schedule. Because of this, I don’t mind occasionally putting in days in which I don’t see them at all. Well, don’t mind isn’t exactly what I mean. I miss them, but I know I am seeing a whole lot more of them than I would if I worked full time. Two years ago, I did work full time, and not only was my opportunity to be with my daughter limited, but I also was worn out all of the time.
Now that the year is starting, I will have those days when I am home all day and immersed in their world. I will also have, rarely, those days when I leave before they are up and return after they are in bed. Friday was one of those days. I can live with that balance.
My wife and I both work part time during the school year, but right now we are full time in preparing for and delivering teacher in-service training at our schools. This, coupled with our daughter’s preschool not starting for a few weeks, puts us in a childcare bind.
Grandma to the rescue!
My mom has arrived to help out for the next three weeks, and it is an indescribable relief to have her here. The kids flourish in her care, she enjoys being with them, and my wife and I are freed up to do our jobs without feeling like we are totally abandoning our children.
Today and tomorrow, I am gong from work to evening events. In the past this would mean that I wouldn’t see my children from last night night until the morning after tomorrow. That is a long stretch to not see the kids and for them to not see me. It has happened before, but it is not fun. My daughter, after a spell like this, would ask for a while if she was going to see me the next day.
With our new response to the kids getting up around 6:00, I get to hang out in the morning and start their day with them. Even with me gone all day, I will have a dose of them to get me started. It is a fairly good time to be with them after initial grumpiness is past.
I am so thankful that we changed routines; I won’t miss my kids.
Today, in the midst of plugging away on several tasks at work, an elementary school, my wife texted that she and my daughter were going to stop by on their big adventure. They had already been to South Station to look at trains and to the Aquarium. After two train rides, they showed up and toured the school and met my co-workers. It was a wonderful surprise to see both of them and share this part of my life with my family.
Rare as they are, there are a few days in which I leave before my kids are up and return after they have gone to bed. Perhaps this is not much of an oddity for some, but for me it is a big deal. Tomorrow, I will leave again for work before they arise, so the next time I see my children will be when I get home. They will have gone two days without me in their life.
On the other hand, there are plenty of days (usually one per week) when I get up with the kids and have them, minus a half day of school for the older one, all day long until they go to bed.
I guess it balances out in the end.
When my daughter was young, I fretted about the days I wasn’t around. I felt it would damage our relationship, but as time progresses, I am not at all concerned about that. I have put so much time in, that a day here or there does not have a major impact. It is even good for there to be days when Mommy and Daddy are not around.
I still miss them on these days, though.