Friday, September 17, 2010

Easy Choice

letter E Á S Capital Letter Y (Takoma Park, MD)

It was one of those mornings.  I had it all carefully timed out to let Lukas sleep until the very last moment before waking, dressing, and getting him out the front door.  Barring anything out of the ordinary, I would be pulling into his preschool about 10 minutes before 8:00.  I would sign him in, take him to the bathroom to make sure his bladder was empty and his hands were washed.  Then, after a big hug and a kiss I'd zip off to work.

Of course, careful planning would have actually built in extra time for things to go awry.  They always seem to do so when you're in a hurry. Although I'm no rookie, I'm still getting back into the swing of getting him out the door on time after several months without that job.

And on this particular morning, I was in a hurry.  Nothing big barred us from leaving the house on time.  It was more of a series of little things.  Lukas didn't want to get out of bed for one.  He was still tired, having fallen asleep later than optimal the night before.  Plus, I didn't have everything ready to grab and go like I should have.  He needed extra clothes that day.

The end result was that we arrived at preschool a few minutes after 8:00.  Not normally a big deal, but that day I had an event starting at my work promptly at 8:00.  Thankfully, I worked close by.  So I sent him to the bathroom while I signed him in.  Then I heard "Uh Oh" as I approached.  It turned out he missed the mark and peed down his leg onto his pants.  Sigh. 

No problem.  Like a well oiled machine I sat him down on a little couch without blinking and proceeded to change him into clean clothes.  As I did he grabbed a nearby book and started thumbing through it.  In no time flat, like Super Dad, I had him back into dry pants and ready to tackle the day.

It was then that he turned to me, holding up the book.  "Will you read this to me Daddy?" he asked.  "Nope, I have to leave for my meeting buddy" I responded succinctly as I went to put away the dirty pants.  However, after doing a circuit of the noisy, echoing room clutching the book, my son returned with a disappointed look on his face.  Another 3 year old friend of his had only stuck out his tongue when Lukas asked if he wanted to look at it with him.  "Please read this to me Daddy?"  he politely asked again.  But I was in a rush to get to work.

As I was grabbing the doorknob to leave, a quick glance at my watch revealed that it was 8:10. "Why don't you ask one of the teachers to read it to you?"  I suggested.  But as the words were leaving my mouth my eyes were taking a scan of the room.  The teachers were all otherwise engaged and tending to the group of kids who were swirling about the room.  I didn't see that suggestion coming to fruition. It seemed to me, in that instant, that the surrounding chaos faded away and Lukas and I were suddenly alone in the room. 

I looked down at him.  He was still glancing at me with pleading eyes.  They said 'Please Daddy.'  I thought of work. Then realized that I work so that I can have moments such as these.  In that moment it became an easy choice. 

So we found the quietest corner we could and read it together.

This post brought to you in conjunction with Fatherhood Friday over at Dad Blogs. Click on over and check out all the great parenting related post.


SciFi Dad said...

It's important to let them know that they're still our priority, even when other things temporarily distract us.

Mrs. M said...

You made the right call dad.

Keith Wilcox said...

Awesome choice! It's heart wrenching to make a bad decision and have to live all day knowing you disappointed your kid. I've done it on a few occasions. It'll probably happen again, but I keep telling myself I've learned my lesson -- that spending those extra few minutes make all the difference. So, good for you. Them is some mighty fine priorities you've got there! :-)

TempestBeauty said...

LOVE that you took a moment to read to him. He WILL remember those moments. You are an AWESOME dad. :D

Homemaker Man said...

This is why I just don't go to work.

Doug @ Daddy's Tired said...

Dropped my little one off at day care for the first time yesterday, was running late, and felt harried...I' know where you're coming from..Good on you for stopping to take a breath.

Steve said...

So hard to say No and so good to say Yes.

This very morning, keen to get into work early to complete soemthing important, I am proud to say I managed to pull myself up and stop for just 5 minutes to do something more important: fulfil my son's request to read him a Spiderman comic. He appreciated it, I felt better for it and the work still got done.

Didactic Pirate said...

Lukas the Emotion Ninja. He worked you over like a pro.

Just kidding, of course. Yes, you made the right choice. But you already know that.

Didactic Pirate said...

Lukas the Emotion Ninja. He worked you over like a pro.

Just kidding, of course. Yes, you made the right choice. But you already know that.

Kevin McKeever said...

Some decisions are easy to make. Wise choice, James.

triles said...

The life of a parent is full of these little decisions, and your example is a great reminder to do the right thing.

Captain Dumbass said...

Good call, dad.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

That's so awesome. It really is. So was your work upset? Or was it not a big deal? Not that it matters... your priorities are in the right place... just curious.

Anonymous said...

Whether your 10 minutes late or 40 minutes late... you're still late right? Sweet story man.

James said...

Nice post.


Jamie K said...

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. They are WORK, FAMILY, HEALTH, FRIENDS and SPIRIT and you're keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that WORK is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - FAMILY, HEALTH, FRIENDS and SPIRIT are made of glass. If you drop one of these they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it".

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest.


-Bryan Dyson (former CEO of Coca-Cola)