Even after a long business trip Vaughan Granier knows that his family needs him to be present in the moment.
I have been travelling, and am more than a little sleep deprived. The issues I have dealt with at work have been deep, corporate issues and have drawn on my resources quite heavily. Tomorrow I will be home again, but with empty batteries. From my perspective, I am hungry for a good night’s sleep. I am desperate to see my family and relax with my wife. There are things to do around the house but maybe they can wait. At least until I have a bit in the tank…
But lets do some thinking here, all of us corporate travelers who do this frequently.
Tomorrow, for my little children, a daddy will arrive home. Tomorrow, for my wife, a husband will arrive home. (And, of course, most importantly, for the cats, tomorrow the guy who feeds them and lets them sleep on the bed will arrive home!)
What will daddy be like? Well, what SHOULD he be like? Through my children’s eyes:
My daddy is home. I have missed you so much. Did you remember my treats? Can I have a cuddle, please, a big long one where you squeeze me tight? Can we sit by you? Will you cook something nice for dinner? What are we going to do tomorrow? Can we go to the park with you? If it’s raining can we make a picnic in the attic and pretend? Where are my treats?
What will it be for my wife, the one who has been mom and dad for 5 days? Through her eyes, does it look like this:
My husband is home! I have missed you. So great to have you back! Here’s a baby to change. Please greet me first and pay attention to my week. I know you traveled and did stuff, but can you lift me up and look only at me or a while? Can I have some adult conversation? Can I please be weak and tired, now, and tell you how hard it was without you suggesting how it could be better managed next time? I know your favorite TV show got recorded and you want to watch it, but can we make time this weekend with the TV off just to catch up? Can you put the kids to bed so I can relax?
Here’s the challenge, men. Husbands, fathers… I am not saying you miss it like I do sometimes, and focus on exactly the wrong stuff. I am not saying I have ANY of the right answers.
But this time, I am going to plan my arrival home, as meticulously as I planned my departure. My wife and children will get the best of me, first, and I will replenish my own spirit when I have honored my beautiful family with the absolute best I can put together for them.
For my wife:
You will be first. You will have my full attention and my deep appreciation for what you have done this week in my absence. I will listen to your week with love and respect, and I will treat you as you deserve. The TV will stay off. You will be free to relax and recover and know that you are loved and appreciated even as you take “me” time this weekend. How can I honour you today?
For my Children:
I love your mommy so I will spend time with her first. She has worked hard to do everything for you without any help from daddy so you all need to say thank you and give big loves to her. But I can’t wait to hug you and listen to all your stories. I have treats for you but can I first have a hug and sit with you on my lap and hear stories of everything you did that was fun and exciting. Show me your new tricks and pictures, I want to enjoy your creativity and your colours. Let’s go to the park or have a picnic on the weekend.
(For the cats: Humblest apologies my lords and masters. Here is your food. Can I get you an extra blanket? Is the house warm enough for you?)
This post originally appeared at Notes From the Road