I live hundreds of miles from my family. Distance and scheduling keep me from seeing them as often as I would like. And though I call them almost every day, it is not the same. I find my presence muted and muffled. I do not hear about some things until it is too late, if at all. I have not met most of their friends. They have not met most of mine. And I miss so much of their everyday lives.
I have tried my best to listen when they need me to listen and to teach what I think that they should learn, but I’m not there. And it hurts all of us.
Imagine if someone were doing something correctable and you knew the solution. Imagine that someone who meant the world to you were in pain and that all you wanted was to hold them and to make things better. Imagine that they were in need of one of your skills, one of your specialties, and that no one else near this person could help them like you could. Now imagine that because you were not physically present, your words and actions held as much force as a light breeze.
It has given me a better appreciation for my own father. He was gone a lot. It seemed like he was constantly on business trips. And when he was home, he was always exhausted (or so it seemed to me at the time.) But now as an adult, I remember his attempts to bond with me. I remember him trying to play games with me. I remember how he taught me to ride a bike. I remember how he inspired me in multiple ways, even though he was unconscious of his effects on me. I remember thinking that he did not care, and yet retrospect has shown me the opposite.
Some people have said that it is my own fault. They have said that I could have taken a job with lower pay and worse benefits closer to them. Or I could have stayed with their mother. Or I could have taken them with me.
I’m not going to argue those points. Choices were made, for better or for worse. I would hope that my friends would trust me enough to know that I did not make them lightly and that they seemed like the best ones at the time.
But this much should be clear. I love my daughters. I am proud of them. And I want nothing so much as I want them to live long, happy, and prosperous lives as the amazing people I know and love.