“Don’t be so far away, Daddy. Be right here with me right now.” -The Girl, while giving me a great big, super lovey, extra long hug…
I get distant sometimes. I think most people do. I’m a fun parent, but I still carry the weight of all the things grown-ups carry. I tend to carry them silently, for the most part, until I notice the boy and the girl making efforts to ‘reach me’…
The boy does it with a less direct approach. He’ll talk about matters of little importance, but of interest to me (such as cars or video games), at length, until he engages me in conversation. I can tell when he’s just making small talk, and when he’s trying to reach me. There are subtle differences.
The girl is a bit more direct. She’ll walk right up to me and say things like the above, or “Hey! You’re being distant! Stop that!” And then engage me in a hug. That works too. Nothing subtle here.
Both are like voices in the darkness, or that light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes I get so lost in thought that I don’t realize I’ve wandered so far off into the dark. Then I hear them coming for me, reaching into my haze of grown up thoughts of groceries and school clothes and gas prices and bill due dates. …and other miscellaneous minutia… It always takes me by surprise, but then makes me smile, like the refreshing first cool evening breeze after a long hot day, or the first ray of sunlight after several days of gloom and rain. Once I realize I’m being summoned, I gladly remove myself from the whirlwind of (relatively pointless) grown up muss and enjoy the bait. Hook, line, and sinker.
Right now it’s a luxury that I’m very blessed to have in my life. We are very in tune as a family and we stay that way by knowing when to put extra effort into reaching that one wandering off, whichever of us it might be at the time.
What I wanted to say about it this evening, though, is that I hope we all maintain that approach with each other no matter how old we get or what life hands us. I know that I’ll always be paying attention if the boy or the girl wander off since that’s my whole reason for existing, but will I always be paying attention if I’m the one wandering, and they’re all grown up and trying to reach me through the phone? I decided tonight that I will. Always.
First thing in the morning I’m going to tell the boy and the girl that. We’ll come up with a code word that means, “You aren’t listening!” That’ll be our cue to take whatever bait is dangling right in front of us at that time, and to follow the line wherever it takes us. Any time of the day or night, any distance, or toward any severity of slap in the face we may need. Not that I need them often, but… I think it’s important to realize that you should have at least one or two people in your life who have the authority to freely slap you when necessary. I know who my two are.
Cheers from The www.ThreeFiveZero.com Distance