At long last, Father Birkel adds his two cents.
No wait, Father Birkel is my dad. And even he would shudder if I called him that. Anyway.
I am fortunate with my current employer. They let me work from home a few days a week, which is great for being a new dad. I get to see Sam almost all the time, and I haven’t missed a developmental milestone so far. But I do occasionally have to make the 25 or 30 mile drive to the office. Right now, that’s spectacularly unappealing, as in the dead of winter it’s dark when I leave and dark when I get home.
But there’s almost a treat waiting for me. I have a large keychain, with far more keys on it than I could possibly need. It’s loud when I get it out of my pocket, start to fumble for the front door key. Sam knows now that jingly keys equals Daddy’s home! This is what I get to come home to: as I try desperately not to drop my keys through my clumsy glove-ensconced fingers, I hear a squeal from inside. And then another. Sometimes several if I’m having a bad day fighting with the keys. I turn the lock, and open the door, and Sam squeeeeeeeeeeeeeals long and loud, and smiles the biggest smile in the world up at me. Now he can point at me and say “dada!” when I come home, too.
Alissa says about 4:30 or so (15 minutes before I get home, usually), Sam starts looking out the window. Waiting patiently for Daddy to get home.
When Sam was little, really little, his age measured in weeks instead of months, he didn’t want anyone but Alissa to hold him. Daddy just wasn’t good enough. And it got discouraging. I wanted my little boy to love me. Alissa reassured me that he did love me, he just depended so much on mommy at that point, it was natural he would have a preference. She told me, just wait, one day Sam will show how much he loves you.
Now that day is nearly every day.
As I said, I consider it a great blessing to be able to work from home. But sometimes, it’s worth going away, just to get to come to an excited little boy who’s waiting to have some quality daddy time. It’s something I’ll never forget, and never stop being thankful for.