One of the Best

A friend told me this summer has one of the best for him. He’s carved out time with his children and his spouse, and he’s made fitness a priority by spending weekday mornings at the gym. He even started a book club.

I began to reflect on his words tonight. What had I accomplished this summer? Could I say, as he did, that it was one of the best?

A year ago I was in a precarious spot at work. So much so that I spoke with an attorney who told me to find another job as soon as possible. It would take me a few more months to comprehend the level of corruption taking place. When I finally understood, it was too late and our entire division imploded.

Yet, when I look back, I knew it was coming and was preparing myself for that day. So when it arrived, I had Ox to fall back on. That’s resulted in a summer unlike any other for our family. My kids still aren’t sure what to make of their father working from home.

Yet it’s been a blessing. I enjoy the chats with my daughter to and from piano lessons. I had time to show my son how to solve the Rubik’s Cube and then watched as he taught himself every cube I could find including the 7x7x7. And we’ve shot baskets together and kicked a lot of soccer balls around the neighborhood.

“When are you going to get a real job?” and similar questions haven’t stopped but they have slowed down to a few a week. It’s been as much an adjustment for them as it has for me, and they don’t always understand why I need to join a conference call instead of watch an episode of Johnny Test with them.

On tonight’s episode of Breaking Bad, the main character, Walter White, takes a brand new Dodge Challenger for a joy ride through an empty parking lot. With smoke streaming from the car’s tires, Walt grips the wheel and performs donut after donut with a massive grin on his face.

And I suppose that’s how I feel about this summer. I never made it out of the parking lot but I had fun nonetheless. I should have exercised more often than I did. I should have kept a regular schedule instead of working through the night a few times. I could have completed more projects around the house.

But this summer I erred on the side of spending time with my family. Far too many times I’ve put a company, a boss or a project ahead of them. I realize that’s not always avoidable, but it’s not something I’ve balanced well throughout my career.

Last night Kim and I took the kids to the park to play tennis. For nearly two hours we hit the ball back and forth. Balls careened around the court. Many sailed over the fence. A few were returned back over the net, but it didn’t matter. I had the drag the kids off the court because it was late and their parents were exhausted.

The activities we did this summer we did together, be it tennis, swimming, shooting baskets or picking blueberries.

That’s what I’ll remember about this summer. Yes, it’s been one of the best.

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