Thursday, August 19, 2010

He with the expressive eyes.

When he's at his fastest of Tasmanian Devil-like moments, it can be easy to forget about what he's like when he's at his most contemplative. The reward is in knowing more. He's very bright and perceptive and with a well-timed query, he can stop the noise of the world and bring me into his kindest of souls and most loving of hearts.

And she wins.

To her, I paraphrase Kevin Spacey in Glengarry Glen Ross: "Will you go to sleep?"

To me, she quotes Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast: "No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!"

And we'll read Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon as we fly over the Atlantic

I came home early tonight and got to enjoy a bit of quality time with my kids. While walking the dog and talking with my tag-along daughter, a plane flew over our heads. Ari gasped with delight and remarked, "I just can't wait to fly in a plane and go to Paris someday."

I love that kid and I hope more than anything that her Paris dreams eventually come true.

Nights and Weekends

Sometimes I feel like an absentee dad. I sleep in the same home with my wife and kids, but I don't see them very much. In the mornings, there's the bustling about of everyone getting ready for school so my quality time with my family is reduced to frantic conversations regarding lost shoes. "Well, where did you leave them?" "I don't know." "Just hurry up and find them. Time is of the essence." We like that phrase because it rhymes with bioluminescence, the big word that the kids and I love that we know. Thirty minutes of getting ready and they're in the van and off to school and I'm back to bed for part two of my nightly sleep.

Sometimes I get a Saturday or a Sunday off, but those are rare. The hospitality industry needs industrious me the most on the weekends. Happy to be employed and grateful for the health insurance, I obligingly clock in promptly for each and every shift, missing my family but conscious that my time in uniform and nametag is all for them, for us. Still, it smacks hard when I'm aware that my own case of arrested development, doing a job best suited for college kids and retired persons, continues to earn a paltry sum toward this family's modest budget. I appreciate that I've got it better than many, but my kids just know that they miss their dad.

Forgive me. I'm just ruminating tonight that I've got to figure out how to become the man I want to be. My wife and kids would like to see me more often. For them, I'd like to find a job that pays more and has me home at nights and on weekends. This has always been my desire, of course, but it was made especially clear that my absence is having its effects when my five-year-old daughter made a passing comment to me the other evening on a rare evening off. "Daddy," she asked. "Do you sometimes wish you didn't work nights so that your kids wouldn't miss you and be sad?" Oh, the power of a simply asked question. Oh, the guilt. I shared what she said with my Twitter friends and learned that even the 9-5ers have endured similar guilt-inducing moments with their kiddos. We do what we must and we know it's for the greater good. If only it was a tad easier for the kids to understand.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The 50th State Is Where I'll Be

I'm staying up late and studying up on Hawaii for an upcoming trip I have planned. It's a strange event to consider given my near constant hermit status, but it's a very generous all-expenses paid gift from my mom and I'm grateful for the opportunity. The plan was originally for she and my brother to go, but she recently had hip surgery and won't be able to make it. At first, I considered declining her offer, overwhelmed at the prospect of going to Hawaii while struggling financially here at home. I was gently nudged into saying yes by several friends and loved ones who threatened to kick my butt if I said no.

So here I am downloading surfing podcasts and reading trip reports online. I even have the bus schedule printed out. My brother and I will be staying at a nice resort in Honolulu called the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa. For some reason, it's been awhile since I've enjoyed taking pictures. With this trip in mind, I'm feeling motivated to learn how to get good shots again. Lately it's just been lazy iPhone pics of whatever while the Nikon sits lonely on its shelf.

Thanks to my mom for giving me her ticket. As always, I'm humbled by her generosity. She's recovering nicely from her surgery and I'm sure that she'll be able to make the trip herself next time around.