My foot shot out from under me at the speed of sound. My tailbone found the slushy cold pavement with a thud. There’s a good possibility that some salty language escaped my lips as I fell.
When I spoke to my wife before leaving work that day she suggested that maybe I shouldn’t buy a whole truckload of groceries, since I may not be able to navigate my truck up our slick, steep hill in the snow (it had been scraped when the photo was taken). “Oh, I can get up the hill.”
So, with massive quantities of groceries on board, I failed miserably at conquering our hill. After much tire burning, ditch cleaning, and backward sliding, I gave up. I walked to the top of the driveway to get a shovel, just so I could dig out enough to get my truck out of the middle of the driveway. As I walked back toward my truck, my frustration was compounded by the fact that none of my family (most notably my teen daughter and son) had appeared to help me tote groceries into the house.
And then I fell……into a dose of perspective. As I finished my Yosemite Sam grumbling and returned to my feet, I heard footsteps coming behind me. My faithful 9 year-old son Kal approached cheerfully, “Need some help?” Of course I did. He was wearing basketball shoes and no socks in the deep snow. I told him over and over how much I appreciated his help as we made multiple trips up the hill carrying groceries (I may or may not have pointed out those who didn’t show up to help).
When we finished putting groceries away, I noticed a very important detail. An open curtain that normally stays closed.
The reason he was the only one to offer help was that he was the only one in my family that was anxiously waiting and watching for my arrival.
Standing at the door. Looking out of the window. Waiting for dad to get home.
Kal is almost 10 now. That will probably be the last time he ever stands at the window waiting for me to get home. I think it’s one of the most important things for a father of young children to understand; it IS a big deal when you come home. And it’s a big deal when you leave.
It’s likely that your kids are the only people on earth that will ever eagerly watch for your arrival. They are the only ones that will beg to go with you when you leave. Cherish these moments while they last and make the most of them.
Show excitement for coming home. Show excitement for BEING home. When they say, “Daddy, can I go?”, find a way to make the answer “yes”. They won’t always want to be with you. They won’t always want to talk to you.
Someone will guide them. Something will influence them. Let it be you. Consistently.
Don’t worry yourself with trying to impress people that don’t matter. Guide and influence the lives that do matter. Be the best dad you can be….today and every day.
And if “daddy’s home” is still a big deal to somebody in your home……then it better be a big deal to daddy.