So far over the last week, I've seen my girls every day...at least once. We quickly got in the routine of "Skyping" before they got on the school bus in the morning. (the wonderful side effect is that they stay on task...because they want to see Dad...while getting ready for school thereby decreasing Marjie's stress levels) It was great. They lit up on the camera, smiling, partially toothless, and holding up one of our cats to the camera now and then. They just loved it and even loved it more when I'd instant message them via Skype. "Type something else, Dad!!!"...as they'd stare at the bottom of the screen waiting for something else to pop up...then I get to watch their reaction. Priceless, I tell ya...priceless.
This separation is a lot like post-ultra-marathon (yes, I will always draw a parallel to running on my blog...would you really expect anything different??). After an ultra, I am elated...I am floating on Cloud TEN...I couldn't be happier. I totally forget all that pain and discomfort and all of the comments said inside my head and that sometimes leaked out. I am happy and think only about the good times. That's sorta how this is. As a dad, it's definitely not all roses as discipline, smart-mouthed kids, and frustrating homework nights all get in the way. Stepping aside physically, although temporary, and I easily brain dump it all. All I can see (or smell) is roses. It's the reset button of my relationship with them as a father...as Dad. To that end, I just so happened to stumble on a great book by Meg Meeker, MD called "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know." It's a very tangible book with tools and ideas to be a good dad. Things that make me wanna hit my head and say: "I shoulda had a V-8!!!" Ya know....as dads...as parents, we get stuck in a rut of doing things...same thing day in and day out. Life is just cruising on bye with not so much as a wave. Before we know it, my girls will be grown and it'll be too late. The type of relationship I want to cultivate must start now. It's not that I'm not doing anything right....I am. I'm just missing a lot, I think. Since I finally got my Borders Rewards 30% coupon in my e-mail today, I'm going to go and buy the book. It's one that I can see reading a few times over the years and one I'd want to loan out to fellow dads. It's just another tool in my tool-belt as I like to say.
I do love my girls. I want to be very close to them throughout every day of my life. I want them to still be calling me "Daddy" when they're being called "Mommy." (oh geez....that conjures up all kinds of thoughts!) In a culture that will do its very best to rip and tear them away from me, I have to work hard to be there for them, to protect them, to teach them, and to be their hero. They need to know that "My dad will take care of me!"
Below is a video that I hope you'll watch if you made it this far in today's post. Collin Raye, a country music artist, wrote a song about his granddaughter, Haley. Haley has an undiagnosed neurological disease. She started digressing at age 2 and is now 9 years old. It's called "She's with Me." Watch it...and listen to the words. This is Collin's story but when I heard it, it really compelled me to write today's blog...it was sort of a capstone on what I've been feeling this week. As the video comes to a close, listen closer to the lyrics and how it changes from "she's with me" to....