What did I learn?

Wow. What a roller-coaster of a week.

After hearing from him on Wednesday, I was much more comfortable the rest of the week.  I was excited about his return on Saturday.

When Saturday arrived and we waited patiently for the bus to arrive, I kept telling myself not to get emotional. I failed miserably.

I’ve never missed anyone or anything this much. It was amazing to see my boy again. Of course, he was the same as we left him.I’m grateful for the opportunity to have my kids in my life on a daily basis and miss them when they go away. There are a lot of dad’s out there that miss their kids non-stop as they live with Mom or have been taken from them.

This struggle was more than just missing him but coming to the realization that him and his sisters are growing up. We’re not needed as much and the 5 days without any contact was a sign of the times. For the last 14 years, I’ve never felt ‘not needed’ until this past week. It sucks.

The silver-lining to all of this is how much of a great time he had. He learned a lot and no doubt, grew up a little more in the process. I guess that makes two of us.

I’m excited

Christmas 2010 006

Remember Christmas morning? That’s what it feels like for me today.  In just over 12 hours, my son will be home from camp.

I’m sure you’re sitting there reading this and asking “Is this guy still going on about his kid being away from camp?”. Damn right I am. If that makes me a softy, that’s perfectly fine with me.

This has been such a heartbreaking and sad week while also being an amazing experience for him and a fantastic learning experience for me. I have learned more about myself and my son in the last 4 days that I have in the last year.

Earlier in the week when I was in pre-meltdown mode, I wouldn’t even dare step downstairs near his bedroom. Having him away without contact was truly felt like a loss. Today, after a couple days of contact and anticipation of his arrival, I went down to his room, fixed his door like I said I would and played on his PS4 for good measure. I had to make sure it worked when he got home, right? 🙂

Having battled through the emotions of the week, we’re already taking about him going away next year and hopefully, his sisters will join him. I’m confident that I will handle the absence better next time…but I can never be too sure.

Why am I here?

camp-kids1:24am.

My 13 year old son has been away at camp for 5 days, 10 hours and 25 minutes.  All my life, I’ve had the understanding that dad’s need to be tough and not give a shit about the ‘sensitive stuff’. In 1994, I watched my dad stand over my grandfather’s newly deceased body with no emotion at all. That’s what I thought was expected of me.

That’s not me. It never has been. I miss my son…..and that’s okay.

My son is at a week-long camp where technology use is extremely limited. They have one hour per day to use technology if they choose, but they have to wait in line to get their device. We asked him to reach out to us at least once during the week. I didn’t expect it to take so long and why did I say only once!!?

3 days in, my girls attend a sleepover camp with their class. WTF! How am I supposed to deal with missing all 3 of my kids??? This is awful. Luckily, the girls were able to communicate with us and let us know they were having a good time. It put my mind at ease.

As we hit day #4, we still hadn’t heard from him. It was awful. I kept trying to tell myself that I should be fine with it but I wasn’t. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was consumed by my thoughts and I ate like a stray dog.

We heard from other parents that they received a text from their daughter’s at camp. One even received a letter. We heard he was having a great time. Why didn’t we get anything?

At last! 4:30pm on Day 4. The word “BREH” comes up on my phone. My heart melts. This is a nickname we have for each other. “My boy!” I said in my head. I can’t remember the last time I felt this happy and relieved. We shared some texts shortly after.

I was happy to see that my boy was still my boy. He talked the same. Most importantly, he said he missed me too.

As a dad, it’s okay to miss your kids. It’s okay to be sad when they’re gone. It’s okay to cry when you’re sad and it’s equally okay if your kids see you when you’re emotional.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me. It’s gonna be fun. 🙂