There was no chance that life could get any more hectic.
I attended classes at the University of Utah for six hours before running off to work at a law firm for another four to six. When I wasn’t in class or at work, I had my head in a book. Or maybe I was typing away late at night on a term paper due the next morning. No way could my life get any busier.
And then I got married and took a job that required a lot of travel. The few days I had with Kim were spent celebrating my return or preparing for my next trip. We also managed a small apartment complex, and Kim worked full-time. And then church callings came and I found myself sitting in an early morning meeting every Sunday on the only day I had to sleep past 6 am. Saturday morning was out because we had to show apartments to potential tenants. Life was hectic, and I couldn’t imagine it becoming any more so.
And then we purchased a home, added a dog and had four children. What we were thinking?
I look back on those years in college and as a newlywed and they seem carefree and relaxing compared to today. There are times when it feels like there’s little room to breathe between school activities, piano practices, fund raisers and diaper changes. There’s no such thing as a commitment-free weekend anymore.
Kim and I decided years ago that we would not pack our kid’s days full of of extracurricular activities. Our children would like to join more soccer teams and take more dance or piano lessons, but we simply can’t allow that and still maintain our sanity. In addition to church and school, we’ve decided that one commitment is enough for them right now.
I can see how some fathers dive into work and never come up for air until their children are well into their teens. There’s always someone else to raise my kids. There’s always tomorrow, right?
There are days when 5 pm rolls around and I think to myself, “Should I stay later and read my favorite blogs in peace?” The choice isn’t always clear when the alternative is to leave work and join the circus at home that’s already in progress with no signs of slowing down.
My mistakes are there for my children to see. They are impossible to hide regardless of how hard I try to keep them hidden. But I believe my children would rather I was present, mistakes and all, than not around at all. Reminds of Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then
And yet, when such thoughts arise, something happens that reminds me how wonderful this time in our lives really is. Like last night when I put Kai to bed and he grabbed my cheeks and gave me an aggressive kiss to the nose before turning over and falling asleep. Or Luca asking me to rub her sore feet. Or Lincoln sneaking up behind my chair at the computer to proudly show me his latest math test.
Before I had children, I would have laughed at the above. They seem like small almost insignificant activities. But they are what bind us together and make the rough times more palatable. String a number of these events together and strong family ties are created.
I figure if my children can approach me today, there’s a better chance they will approach me in the future. When the topics of discussion turn from basketball to boys.
And everything in-between.