I get mixed reactions when I tell people that I want my kids to know that they are the biggest part of my life but they are not all my life. The other day they came to work and saw another side of their Dad. People came up and said hello, met them, and they for the first time, in waiting for me to finish saw another side of their Dad before we could leave for dinner.
I also have rehearsed on more than a few occasions for a fundraising gig with a group of insanely talented musicians. Again, the kids are taken care of but told that their Dad has something going on and they will have to make sure their homework is finished and do the normal evening routine.
Some say “good for you!” Others…well others have given me an earful.
Let’s skip the debate over “parent” Dave versus “Dave, Dave” for the moment, though.
My kids are getting older, for sure, and their need for complete and utter supervision every second of the day just isn’t what it used to be. Add to that the fact that all of us took on a heavier load and much more responsibility when my wife – their mother – passed away and you see that I have four very mature and wonderful semi-adults in my household.
There are still things that keep them secure in the knowledge I’m there and connected, though. Technology, you see, is an amazing thing.
I broke down, finally, and got the last two kids a cell phone. (They share it) I may very well be the oddball in the sphere of influence where we live. They, I think, are the last two children to have survived 12 whole years without a cell phone, iPad, iPod or other piece of technology. I did it, though, because they are now doing out of school activities and I need to be able to talk to them, much like their two older sisters.
Tonight I saw the security that the technology holds for them, though, too. I had a rehearsal with a band mate and brought my middle daughter with me. She’s playing guitar on one of our songs. The boys had their new cell phone and I informed them we’d be late. Past their bedtime kind of late.
For the boys this wasn’t a huge deal, but I do tend to tuck them in every night, still. So when we had just started to begin working on harmonies my cell phone buzzed.
“We are in our PJ’s, homework is finished, and we need you to sign some stuff.”
I paused and took the time to answer.
In the middle of working out a guitar line another text.
“Can we have cereal?” They wanted their equivalent of a midnight snack.
Even when doing my own adult activities I’m connected. They really didn’t need to ask but it makes them feel better to do it.
As the bedtime hour approached, more than a half-dozen texts asked and answered, my daughter says “The boys are texting you . . . again.”
This time they’d found the audio text feature. It was very short so I assumed it was a mistake and we continued our work. It wasn’t until we were packing up I listened to it.
“Good night Dad,” said one son. “Good night Dad,” said the other.
“We love you!” was the end. That was it.
It’s not a security blanket, but it certainly gives them security. I got home, put all the gear away and found them in their beds, tucked in neatly, dreaming heavily.
“I love you, too,” I said.