Sometimes, the most wonderful thoughts can be triggered by the smallest of things. Even when you’ve had a long, tiring day, one little thing can make you forget all of it. Such a thing happened to me.
Before I go one, lets go back in time a bit.
In 2013, two life changing events happened to me: I lost my job of 16 years and, my wife gave birth to my second child.
Alexander was born six months before I got laid off. During those six months, I missed out on a lot, you know, the early, early infant stuff…rolling over, trying to crawl, etc.
Then, as the middle of summer approached, I got word that I was being laid off, you know, my position was terminated. That’s a smoke screen statement, but that’s another story.
Anyway, being laid off with benefits was a blessing: I got to spend a lot of time with my family, my newborn especially. Watching him develop over the nine months or so before I got another job was just awesome. The smiling, the joy, the wonder. It was truly a special time. Then…
I got a job that was an hour and twenty minutes from home. I got up at the crack of dawn and was home at sundown. I missed a lot. By the time I would get home, my step son was going to bed and Alexander was played out for the day. My wife would be beat. But, it was work and we needed it. Badly.
Less than a year later, though, I got a local job. More money, less wear and tear on the car, but, more importantly, it took, maybe, 20 to 25 minutes to get to work or come home. Less time if the traffic was light. I got to see more of my family. And Alexander.
Now, by this point, Xander is walking and talking and into everything. The terrible two’s. He turned three in 2016 and…got even more devilish. But, that’s OK. For all of the screaming he does, getting into things, throwing…well, he has his cutesy, sweet moments too.
Coming home from work is a treat. I get the biggest, best greeting from him. He is genuinely happy to see me. All of the negatives melt away when he runs up to me, throws his arms around me and yells ‘Dadddeeeeee!’ And, the icing on the cake…I get nice kiss from my beautiful wife.
During his more calm moments, he wants to sit with me, play a game with me, share in his love of all things Spongebob (what is it about that cartoon? My 19 year old grew up on it, as did my eight year old step son and, now, Xander…) and the occasional book reading.
So, that moment I started out talking about? Well, tonight, I was sitting on the couch, my back hurting and trying to get my head around a couple of things when Xander crawls up on my lap. He had my wife’s phone, watching YouTube. He finds these videos of some idiot unwrapping toy filled things or videos of games, usually Minecraft. He thinks they are so funny. He found one of a train based game. He says ‘Daddy, I want to play this game’. I told him I would see if I could find and put it on his Tablet (yes, my three year old has his own tablet, an Ellipse from Verizon…kidified.) He says ‘OK, fanks.’ He gives me a one handed hug and goes back to the video. Then, he stops. Puts the phone down. Looks at me, pauses…then gives me a raspberry! He giggled and giggled and giggled. Picks up the phone and continues to watch the video. Well, I’m dying inside…I could not hold back and laughed out loud. He looks at me, smiles, and then gave me a big hug.
That look on his face…it was priceless. Not only did it make me feel like the world’s greatest dad, but it made me realize that this is what it is about. While jobs make our lives work, it is the kids that are most important. These little moments are fleeting and I sure hope I don’t miss them. Ever.