My oldest daughter likes me remind me that I will be 63 years old when our baby turns 18. Not that it bothers me much but it has made me think about taking care of my body so that I’m able to be involved in his activities, whatever they may be.
My mother liked to tell me that she had all five of her kids by the time she was 26 years old. I was into my 30’s before our first child arrived, but she had better luck with her three daughters.
There are times I wish I had more energy to chase the kids around the yard, but am making an effort to take them to play racquetball with me on Saturday mornings, ride bikes with them, and finding other ways to be a part of their goofy lives, even if that means learning what Minecraft is all about.
By far the biggest difference I made was remove myself from the corporate rat race over two years ago. Instead of leaving the home to catch the train or bus before anyone else was out of bed, I now get up with 6 am with my daughter who is in middle school. The only thing she likes more than school is talking about school. While we sit around the kitchen table, she tells me about her teachers and classmates, and I get to see a side of my daughter I didn’t know existed.
When I drop Luca off at the bus stop, I return home and help get three more kids ready to school. Two years ago I couldn’t tell you what any of them liked for breakfast. Now know that Anna likes cereal, Lincoln loves oatmeal and Kai likes waffles. That’s progress.
I’ve had jobs that required keeping strict hours in the office if only to look busy. I’ve had jobs that required substantial travel, often weeks at a time. At my last job I spent 15 hours each week in my car or on the bus. That time away from my family added up quickly, and I often felt like an outsider in my own home.
But that has changed now. I feel blessed to have found a position that allows me to flex my schedule so I can spend time with my family each morning, requires no travels and encourages employees to work a reasonable schedule.
This morning, I noticed my daughter forgot to grab her lunch box. I was able to ride my bike to her school to drop off her lunch and still make it into work in less than half the time it took to drive to my last job.
Next time Luca reminds me how old I’ll be when our last child reaches his teens, I’ll remind her how much wiser I’ll be too. That will make her laugh.