As I’ve written before, I attended four years of high school with my father who was a teacher and coach. He left early each morning. Much earlier than I needed to be up. But most days he’d give me a ride home after football, basketball or baseball practice. Even if he had to wait around for practice to end.
The drive from the high school to our home only took ten minutes which was plenty long when I played poorly. But the majority of the time we enjoyed each other’s company. It was a few minutes out of each day when he could get to know me a little better away from the hectic practice schedule.
We talked about school and sports. Even girls. Whatever I wanted to talk about. He never forced the discussion.
Having children of my own, I understand how difficult it is to carve out time for each child. It takes patience. It takes planning. It’s a lot easier to toss them all in the van and go for a ride.
But those 1×1 instances with my children often result in the deeper relationships.
After the kids went to bed tonight, Kai awoke and began crying. Kim brought him downstairs so the other kids could go back to sleep. I bounced him on my leg as he grabbed peanuts and Mini M&M’s off my desk. At one point he began drinking my ice water through a straw. Warm tears streamed off his cheeks and onto my arm.
I thought about putting him down or sending him back to mom. That way I could go back to writing and listening to music without a two year old wiping his nose on my shoulder.
But I thought of those moments I had with my father all those years ago. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. The duration wasn’t as important as the frequency. And that my father was there.
He was there back then. And he’s still here today whenever I need to talk.
That’s what I want my children to say one day.
When they no longer need a ride home from school.