My wife called me the other night with my son in tears. He is four years old and had been playing hard all day so he was exhausted.
This lead to his true feelings surfacing before bed time.
He and my other two kids are real troopers in dealing with their dad being gone so much. But just like my wife sometimes, in a bad moment, it gets to them.
My wife decided letting him talk to his dad before bed time might make him feel a little bit better so she put him on the phone and he stopped crying long enough for me to tell him about all the fun we were going to have when i finally get home.
I spent quite some time telling him how I would take him and his sisters for a ride in my truck and how we could go to the park on a nice day and play.
I told him we will go to the “play place” and they can play as long as they want.
I told him how we could go buy some more fish for the fish tank and look at the model trains at the pet and hobby shop he loves to go to.
I told him we could pet some puppies and maybe pick one out for this Christmas that Santa could bring him.
He stoppped crying and listened intently to all of this. I thought i was doing pretty good in making him feel a little bit better before bed time so that he could get a good nights rest until when it was time to pass the phone off to his mother he started whimpering again and said that he still didn’t feel any better about me not being there.
It took me way back to when I was a little boy and my dad was on the other side of the country. My mom would tuck me in at bed time and I would start crying because I wanted to be tucked in by my dad too.
My mom would hug and kiss me with understanding and now I know the helplessness that she must have felt while trying to comfort me.
And now I also know the helplessness that my wife must feel when she is a single mother for a month or more at a time.
At least I do come home and we have a great time when i do, which is more than i can say for my pops when i was a kid, but this brings little comfort when your four year old is crying in the background.
I spend 8 months or more a year out hear and it seems like I only visit my family for short breaks.
I have to say that “skype” has been a God send but it still is not the same as the loving touch of a father that is there to tuck his son in for bed.
We have a good life and are truley blessed. Life is what you make of it I know.
I have no other trade that can provide for my family this well.
I just hope that he will grow to understand this as he gets older and not hate me for being away so much.
I know at some point when I was a boy or young man I had to “toughen up” and I realised it is what it is.
I havn’t spoken with my dad since 1995 and I have no desire to. Not out of hatred mind you but rather he was never there when i needed him so i found other ways to comfort myself.
Am I doomed to repeat this cycle with my kids?
My wife tells me what a good father I am all the time but “I still don’t feel any better.”