My husband may miss the “big things”, but the little things he does may be even bigger.
My husband Danny has traveled a lot over the past several months. He works a day job, and takes on several freelance projects on nights and weekends. He works hard to support me and our two young boys.
We haven’t seen him much lately and he missed several of the kids’ activities. But despite his being gone so much, we’ve never felt neglected. Why is that? And why am I okay with him missing the big things?
Because he does the little things so well.
From my time in the workforce, and especially my time at home, I know exactly what it’s like at the end of the day to want to just sit in a recliner and zone out. So it means a lot to see the effort.
After getting our toddler to bed on a particularly long day, I sat down on the couch. As I was resting, I saw my 7-year-old’s face light up when his (dog-tired) daddy sat down at the kitchen table with him for a game of chess before bedtime.
Though that recliner next to me probably looked mighty comfy, he took the time to explain the game, and he didn’t let him win. So when the kid wins, the victory is real.
We’ve also just signed up for Cub Scouts. Danny had work commitments scheduled well in advance before we found out about the Boy Scout Jamboree, a big camping weekend with thousands of campers. He had a commitment with a client and was unable to go.
We were all disappointed.
The night before the big camping weekend, Danny set up the tent in the living room and read library books with our son using a flashlight. And they just kinda hung out in there for a while and talked and laughed.
We were able to work it out at the last minute so I would at least be able to go on the camping trip. He got to do a lot of neat things and he had a good time. It was fun and he was glad I was there, but I was not daddy (which became very evident during the bb gun exercises.)
A few nights after we got back from the trip, Danny set up cans in the backyard on a lawn chair table and had a little father-son target practicing session with an airsoft gun.
And in our backyard over the summer, he taught him the finer points of lighting a fire in the firepit. And looking for constellations. He’s showing him how to use tools.
None of these activities cost anything but his time. You can work wonders in a 20 or 30 minute block of time. Five minutes can be golden if that’s all you have.
We are all so busy, and there are a lot of complicated family situations today. We don’t always feel like it. But imagine how important your kids will feel. Out of everything you could ever buy them, they will remember most that you took the time.
I will also say that after he spends time with them, I see little to no behavior problems on my end. And if that isn’t a win-win, I don’t know what is.
I think they just feel loved and at peace, so there isn’t much to squawk about. There are a lot of giddy, covered-mouth grins. It changes their whole demeanor. They’re even jazzed about simply riding along with him to the dump.
Our lives certainly aren’t perfect and there are nights when the recliner must win to survive. But when we know a long stretch of work is coming, we do our best to prepare for it ahead of time.
How often do you hear that kids wreak havoc on their moms all day but once dad walks in the door all is well? There’s a reason for that.
And I am downright thankful and blessed to have a man that knows it.
Photos courtesy of the author.
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