I actually got to speak to my Dad for a bit before talking to the kids in Nebraska today. It’s a hard thing, particularly for me, since I normally talk to him or my Mom every day. It’s either on the trip home on my earpiece or when I’m at the house, something like that. But since the kids have been there and I seem to be busier now than I was when the kids were around time has been a commodity that has eluded me. I don’t know why, other than the fact that suddenly I don’t like being alone in the house.
The funny thing about this is the fact that I haven’t really been doing all this to avoid being alone, it’s just worked out that way. I have taken a trip, housed a singer/songwriter, joined a band for a good cause, and been working a lot. Most of these would fall by the wayside with the kids at home since I have lunches, homework to look over, showers, laundry, bedtime, meals, all of that.
But talking to my Dad made me realize a couple things:
First, I can hear how much the four kids being there is weighing on him, my Mom too. More than it did last year, I think, and part of that is just the fact that they’re getting older, faster, bigger, and more combative, for lack of a better word. Second, I had more time to actually go out and meet with them, help them, and at least spend a week and then a weekend to help them out. Since I used up all my vacation it’s not been something that has been possible at this point. I went out and they took care of all of us in March so we could get through the one year mark. Now they do this for us, too.
It weighs on the kids, too. Talking on the phone I hear all about what they have and what they did, but they want more to just have me there. To hug them, to chase them, tickle them, all of that. They love my Mom and Dad, but like anything else, there’s just a totally different dynamic for them. For my oldest, there’s no friends she hangs out with. Her Netflix and my iTunes account are going crazy. Her Skype must be bogged down. I know, I was a teenager in a small town my whole life. At least she’s getting work experience and doing a job and getting some money. That’s a good thing about it.
The boys are nervous. They want me to come out and get them in August, which I will. They wish I could be there. Hannah wanted me to visit for our birthday. All of that. It just didn’t happen due to . . . well . . . life.
I miss them – all of them – and that’s the biggest burden. I want to see my folks because I want to spend more time than I have in the past with them. I want to make all my time count.
Time is a luxury that seems to slip away. I see time with my parents fading. I see the days left with Abbi, my oldest, slipping away. With each passing day, too, I see the memories peel back and the clarity of my time with my wife blur, just a little.
It’s a burden we all face. I’m not Atlas, no, but on days like today, I feel the globe shift a little on my shoulders and shrug.