Here I am, sitting in the DC airport, just 5 minutes from when the kids’ winter piano recital is supposed to begin. I’ve been traveling Monday to Thursday this week, and haven’t seen them except for 5 minutes of FaceTime last night. Feeling like a pretty crappy dad right now.
It’s a known trade-off. I laid in bed with my son on Sunday night, telling him: “I’m sorry I have to go, but I have to go earn the money, so that we can live in a safe neighborhood, go to good schools, and have the things we want in life.” But I can’t help but feel a giant pit in my stomach that I’m making the wrong choices.
My kids are only with me, living in my house, for 18 years. What if I spend 10 years of that traveling too much at work and missing those key connections that they need from their Dad? Is it quality time or quantity time that matters? Probably both. I’m not giving them the quantity time they deserve these days.
I had breakfast with a high-powered CEO yesterday. Also my second cousin. She said: “Your time with the kids is so fleeting — what would you do if they left and you had no personal pursuits to continue with? Where would you be?” It’s a good point, I suppose. But don’t they need me during this time of life?
Just got a call from the kids and wife, literally as I am writing this, while heading into the piano recital. They smiled at me. Told me they loved me. But I’m not there. Not there for them.
I hope the sacrifices are worth it, in the long run.
Originally written: December 2016. Republished: February 2018.