Had I been out of town on a business trip I would have missed it.
If I were still commuting to Redmond I would have missed it.
Had my day been stacked with one meeting after another I would have missed it.
If I were still working for a boss who managed by intimidation and fear I would have missed it.
But I don’t and I didn’t.
On short notice I left work and drove three miles to my daughter’s school where I stood in a downpour waiting for her to emerge from her math competition.
That I had left my jacket in the car and was getting soaked didn’t matter because there was no way I was going to miss her smile when she recognized I was there to meet her.
These short and often unplanned interactions with my children may seem insignificant to many, but I’ve learned they are often the best moments in a day. But you have to be present. No elaborate weekend activity can make up for lost time.
Early in my career I relied on my spouse, neighbors or friends to pickup the slack because my job required a lot of travel. And even when I was in town, I was taking calls and replying to email that never seemed to end. This is no way to live, but I had little to compare it to.
I won’t make that mistake again. No title or amount of money is worth having to miss out on these interactions.
I doubt today meant as much to my daughter as it did to me. But I’m betting that my cumulative efforts will pay off down the road. Because when the day comes when her smile is nowhere to be seen, I still want to her know that I’ll be there for her.