I’m lucky enough to have a job that gets me home before 5pm most days. Of course, it means that I’m up and out of the house early, which comes with its own set of tiring consequences, but I pride myself in my ability to come home before the sun sets most days (damn you, daylight savings!).
It’s rare for me to have work expectations that spill over into the evening hours. There are a few times of the year when I have to stay out late at a meeting, dinner or event. Last week was one of those few times. I had to go to a dinner with some work colleagues. I was itching to go home the entire time. Toward the end, I was stretching and gesturing to the bill that had been sitting at the end of the table for at least half an hour. Eventually, after a three hour dinner, I got out of there and raced home.
In most cases when I’m out after work, my son is still awake at the end of the night and, at the very least, I can sneak upstairs and give him a big hug before bed. I wasn’t so lucky this time. I made it home a half hour after his bedtime, and opened his bedroom door with what could only be described as giddy anticipation. When I saw his sleeping face, my heart sunk, realizing just how disappointed I was to have missed every waking moment of his day.
The experience made me realize just how lucky I am. I get to see my son every single day, even if it’s just for a few hours. It always feels too short, but I think about all the dads who work late or travel frequently. I think about all the divorced dads who go days without seeing their kids. I think about the empty-nesters who only see their kids on holidays or breaks. I have to be thankful for what I have, and in doing so, drink in every waking moment of my son’s life.