Today is Father’s Day. Over past few weeks leading up to this annual event I have been working my fulltime job at Bloomberg LP in New York City and wrapping up the fundraising efforts for the 4th of July fireworks celebration and working on the grand finale collections. I have also been fulfilling my duties as one of your Town Councilors here in Wallingford as well as campaigning for Mayor for this upcoming election.
But I have this other very important job – I am a Dad to Andrew, Angela, Adam and Alex.
By the time most of the followers of my blog read this post, my four children will be landing in Warsaw for their annual pilgrimage to Poland. From there they’ll be heading by car for the six-hour ride to the village of Zawadka in the administrative district of Gmina Łososina Dolna where my wife grew up.
The last few weeks in between all my other duties I have been spent doing all those “last things” with them. Going for that “last” walk downtown just to get out and get some fresh air; getting that “last” pizza, making that “last” trip to the ice cream stand or taking the time to spend that “last” afternoon to enjoy Kendrick Park.
Father’s Day for me each year has generally meant saying goodbye to them for ten-to twelve weeks.
I consider the sacrifice of not seeing my kids for that period of time each year a worthwhile one, as difficult as it can be to be away from them that long.
The first few days of them being away is a nice respite; I have the house all to myself and there is no yelling and screaming, no “he touched me,” no “give me that, it’s mine,” no “Jason, before you go downstairs to the man-cave, could you . . .?”
After that, however, it does get a little old and little too quiet pretty quickly.
I know my kids enjoy the time there — seeing my wife’s parents and the aunts and uncles, running all over the farm, riding the tractor, and so on — but I also hear of the little things that they mention that they miss when I talk to them. They mention their bicycles, the other kids in the neighborhood, the DVR (because the concept that a TV show actually starts and ends at a given time and cannot be paused live escapes them).
I am hoping as they grow older that other things sink in; that for all the flaws of this country it is still one of the best places on Earth to grow up and grow old in — a country full of wonder and opportunity; one only needs to make a realistic effort to reach a certain amount of success.
There is never a real need that goes unfulfilled here . . . that when there is the will, there is always a way to get something done because we have so much in abundance here — the means to do it, and the freedom to make our own way.
There is plenty of time for them to learn that once they grow older and understand more. In the meantime, while they are little and away, I will miss the garbage runs with all four kids in tow because right now they all think it’s “cool” to go for a ride and do that with Dad.
I will miss watching Alex take his Superman shirt off and put his Captain America costume on.
I will miss Adam sneaking downstairs at night and climbing into my bed to sleep not because he was “frightened” of anything but because he was “cold”.
I will miss listening to Angela practice her lessons on the piano and when I ask her to “let go” when I try to put her down her response of “never”.
I will miss Andrew asking me if we can watch another episode of “Dinosaurs” or “How the Earth was born.”
I will miss that feeling that I get seeing myself through their eyes, as I believe I have a lot of room for improvement because they see me as the World’s Greatest Dad.
I will miss all these things and more, but I will take some comfort in the fact that I know they are safe and happy; that they are enjoying the summer away and that I will see them again in the fall. But I won’t feel too badly, really, on Father’s Day with them being gone because I have been smart enough to realize that there is an opportunity to enjoy a little something with them each day — making every day Father’s Day.