I sit here in the quiet of this Friday morning. All but one college son is still home. Number 1 made it back to Texas after a 13 hour drive in the freezing rain. Number 2 flew back successfully to California and is preparing for her 3rdtrip to Japan with the Young Americans. Kori drove back to her apartment in KC for work. That leaves 2 dogs, Number 3, Number 4 and me in the house. The Christmas decorations outside are all taken down and waiting to be put away in the garage and there is one table that holds the remaining Christmas decorations waiting for a volunteer to take them downstairs.
The end of this holiday was overly emotional for me. I found myself crying with every family member that left our home. I am not embarrassed to admit that I miss having my family together. Based on everyone’s schedule this might not happen again until the summer or maybe next Christmas. That is what happens. You raise your kids to be independent and move away to begin their own life. I realize that but it never makes it any easier to say goodbye. In years past, I have been the strong one, giving the big dad bear hug, giving the last good piece of advice to them and then sending them on their way. This year none of those words came to me as I was too choked up. All I wanted to do was hold on for as long as they would let me. I could tell they were done when they started getting emotional too and they pulled away before they were a mess like me.
In the silence of this morning, I remember those embraces and doubt I will ever forget how I felt in those moments. Now it is back to reality. Luckily for me, I don’t start back to work until Monday. Unluckily for me, there are lots of little chores to do. Frankly, I don’t feel like doing them. Normally there is something reassuring about a routine and chores that most times keeps me going thru my days motivated by the thought of a clean house, all the laundry put away or a house fully stocked with groceries. This year I just feel like something is missing.
If I am being honest, I was quite nervous as the holiday approached and wondered how it would go having everyone together for the first time in 6 months. In my previous blog, I lamented about all my worries and it definitely brought out the Grinch in me. Everything was a burden for me and I was not excited about shopping, wrapping, decorating or holiday spirit. That quickly changed when my house was full of all the voices I knew by heart. Grinch was gone replaced by a dad whose bucket was full.
This holiday really reinforced for me the importance of family and time spent together. I guess I have taken those times for granted for years and wish I could have that time back. That’s just not realistic and I will have to come to terms with this new reality. As I am typing this blog, I have gotten texts from both my girls and both my sons have walked downstairs to wish me a good morning!
My advice to those with kids still at home; Cherish your time because it will be over so quickly. It isn’t about the things they have or the places they go, it is about time spent together. Show your kids your love, your passion, your respect, your patience. Accept them for who they are and love them always. You only get one shot to be a great parent. Don’t blow it. It is the most important and most rewarding job you will ever get a chance to have. The silver lining for me is that it is never over! You are always their parent and they will always need you, even if they say they don’t. Good bye Grinch, hello emotional