Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Kiss Worth Missing

Thanks for stopping in for a read, despite my lack of writing over the past few months. I've neglected you, my readers, in favour of spending time with my family. I hope you understand and can pick up where you left off. Your support and interest is important to me and is what keeps me going, so keep on reading!

My daughter Ewa is now over a year old. 15 months old to be exact. Her and I have been through a lot since the last time I wrote. I might try to recap some of the things her and I have been through over the last year, but I'll try that out another day. For now I'm going to focus on the inspiration that got me back to the keyboard today.

So, what inspired me? If I describe it in an emotion, the emotion is sadness. Now, it's not as bad as it might sound at first. Really what I'm talking about here is the feeling you get when someone you've been close to shy's away. Here's where my story begins…

My wife's sister recently had a baby. As a supportive sibling, you want to help your brothers and sisters out as much as possible, so Basia decided to go help her sister for two weeks around the time the baby was to be born. The support and love they share is incredible! I understand the importance of being close to family, so we booked a flight and I sent her and my little Ewa on their way…for two weeks. The longest I had ever been away from Ewa since she was born.

It was tough. Two weeks without your family is liberating, but it's also very lonely. I expected that. I missed my girls. But what I didn't expect was what happened when they came home.

When I picked them up from the airport, it was late in the evening and Ewa had been sleeping. She was tired and sleepy-eyed when I first saw her. She acted shy and timid, which I was not surprised by at that time of night. I got a smile from her. But what I didn't get was a hug, a kiss, or even a snuggle from my little Ewa who is usually quite liberal with all of the above. I let it be and kissed her gently, expecting to see her back to normal the next day.

The following day, I got home from work, walked through the door and said 'hello!' Two weeks before, my little girl would have looked up from her toys, smiled from ear to ear, and then walked over to give me a great big hug.

Instead, she got up, hesitated, looked at mom, and then sat back down. I was heartbroken.

Months earlier, before she even started crawling, I looked forward to the day I would get home and watch her crawl over to the door to greet me after work. When that day finally came, I had one more thing to look forward to at the end of every business day. It was great! But now, that moment I had looked forward to for weeks didn't come. It made me sad.

I'm a sensitive kinda guy, by nature, but the feeling that your daughter is too shy to come give you a hug is something that even the toughest dad would likely feel bad about.

That's when I realized that, for Ewa, when she's away, it's as if I was away. For her, it makes no difference whether I'm gone or she's gone. What matters is that we're not together.

For the two weeks that she had been visiting family and traveling around, time apart really made it's mark on her. She came back an older, different child than the one I knew. To anyone else, she would seem the same; if anything, perhaps a little bigger, taller, or smarter. For me, however, she came back infinitely different. Our dynamic had changed.

I realized that, as a dad, time away from your kids might seem manageable, but in reality, it's not the time away that's hard, it's the getting back to normal that's challenging.

So, to you parents (or prospective parents) out there who are thinking it would be great to get away from it all and go on vacation, keep in mind that it's not the distance or the time that makes being away so difficult, it's the time it takes to get things back on track when you get home.

As for me, I've been working hard to re-kindle my relationship with Ewa. It takes time and extra effort. But it's getting better. Today she gave me a kiss.

~ Ken ~

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