The Absentee Father
The phone rings, I answer and listen to my children tell me about their first day of school. They fill me in on teachers, classmates and their impressions of what they think the school year will be like and ask me to tell them more about my life.
It doesn’t feel real to me to hear them ask what my life is like and wonder if my apartment looks different than when they were last here to visit.
My childhood memories aren’t like this, nothing like this.
I had a father Â who lived with us, he didn’t move away and he rarely had to travel for work.
What Kind Of Father Am I?
Time passes and the phone rings, my dad is on the phone and I feel like I am a kid again. I tell him what I am doing and I realize I am looking for his approval, asking for him to tell me what I am doing is alright.
He says it is, tells me I am doing exactly what I need to do, what I should be doing. Tells me he is proud of me and that this is just temporary.
“What is different between you and the guys in the service?
He is not really asking for an answer but I do anyway.
“Not much really, aside from little details like I am not in the service and no one is actively trying to kill me.”
Dad laughs and says that it is probably true, but reminds me that if I go through with my banana plan it could change the equation.
The Ghost Of Tom Joad– Bruce Springsteen
Radioactive– Imagine Dragons
BURN IT DOWN-Linkin Park
Reflections Of My Life– The Marmalade
Hold On-Â Bruce Springsteen and Sam Moore
Misty Mountains– The Hobbit
It Is An Adventure
I told them when I left I was going on an adventure and that one day they would join me on it. I left for the three day drive and wondered what come from it all.
Promised them that I was doing this for them because I was and I am. Told them nothing stays the same and said it was possible work could bring me back home but explained that sometimes you move for opportunity, for a better life.
Time passed and I wondered what life had been like for my great grandparents. Thought about how they moved to the states from theÂ old countryÂ and figured that had to be harder. There wasn’t any Skype or email to use to keep in touch, no telephone.
But was it harder or easier, were attitudes, different or better.
Sat outside one night and smoke a cigar, closed my eyes and exhaled. Been around 25 years or so since my grandfathers smoked cigars but the smell brought the memories back and I held a silent conversation with them about my life.
They told me it was ok to miss the family and that I did the right thing. Told the echoes in my head that it felt a bit silly to have the conversation because I didn’t need approval and yet here I was asking for it.
Not Really An Absentee Dad
I am not really an absentee dad. I didn’t walk out on my family but there are moments where it is harder to be far away. Doesn’t matter why I am or whether it is for the right reasons.
Doesn’t matter because when things happen you want to be there to help, to be a part of it. If I had to name my fear it is that something will happen when I am too far away to help but that has always been there.
Things can happen when you are down the street, crap you can’t plan for can come about and turn everything upside down and that is just part of life.
So I accept that and move on to the next part, remind myself this is just temporary and that in the grand scheme of life this will be a moment in time and not the final act.
And for now that is enough.