I haven’t seen my kids for almost two weeks.
Granted, a big chunk of that time was taken up by my trip to Indianapolis (got back fine last night, thanks for asking). Since it was a big conference attended by a lot of old friends and acquaintances, I was frequently asked about my family, and where my kids were. I was given the good advice to carry a current photo around to show people. And of course everyone gushed about how cute they are, because they are seriously super-cute.
One of the most common questions was whether we were getting a chance to relax with the boys away. This was almost never the case. I worked a full day most days I was there, except at the beginning and the end. Usually those days were followed by meeting someone somewhere to do something, and I often wouldn’t be back in my room until 9 or 10. This went on for about 5-6 days, and after my second day of it I came back to my room and felt kind of terrible.
It’s one thing to be able to relax without your kids. To a point, that’s wonderful. But at home, if I’ve been running around all day, there are few things as rewarding as coming back to my boys and getting to spend the evening with them. So on that evening I was in a particularly irritable mood, because my boys weren’t there at the end of it. I have no doubt that a lot of my surly attitude was also a result of just being tired, but I think a big part was being away from my family.
Before we got on the shuttle to the airport yesterday, we called my mother-in-law to talk to The Big One. He was in the middle of watching Finding Nemo for what I assume is the tenth time. He was excited to hear from us, talked about some of the things he had done, and then abruptly told us that he was done and gave the phone back to grandma. He sounded different to us, like he had changed a little. Mostly it’s just us being homesick, I think.
After such a long trip, I began to feel just a little resentful that I was pulled away from my kids for so long. Work is work, and that’s how it goes sometimes. But on a fatherly level, it felt unjust that my brief time with my kids should be reduced by something as banal as a business trip, especially one around people who would have loved to see them.
But no more, because they’re coming back this afternoon. I have no doubt that it’ll become a tiring stressful shock to suddenly have to care for two little boys. But it’s a shock that I’ve been looking forward to for days and days.