We Take Time Off at the Beginning of Parenting. We Should do the Same for the End
We're winding down winter break in my house; my youngest went back to school today, my son will be going back this weekend, and my oldest will be catching her flight back to Nashville tonight.
Parenting is full of transitions - not all of them easy. I'm finding that the kids leaving for college and the real world are some of the hardest.
I've spent this month feeling pretty anxious about the transition that's coming up; my oldest will be graduating in May and I'm not sure what the next step will be. It's likely that she will stay where she is, which is 1200 miles away from home, to work in the industry she loves and to be with the tribe she's created.
That means that this winter break was likely the last long break I'll have with her.
As I started working again after a lovely break between Christmas and New Year's I was trying to balance my time between spending it with my kids and getting things done. I have felt perpetually behind and cursed myself for the many meetings I allowed to invade my schedule this last week. There were times when I found myself saying to clients, "I won't be able to get to that for a couple of weeks" because I was becoming more and more conscious of this time with my oldest coming to an end.
I was in the middle of working yesterday when I took a break and popped out of my office. She was sitting on the couch and her face lit up. "Want to play cards?" she asked.
"I can't," I said. "I've got to get back to work."
I went back into my office and started typing away when suddenly I stopped and thought, "What am I doing?"
This can wait. Work can wait. It will be there in an hour. It will be there later in the evening. It will be there tomorrow.
You know who won't be here tomorrow? My kid. She will be 1200 miles away.
I pushed myself away from my desk and walked into the family room. "Deal 'em," I told her.
It began to occur to me that we get or take time off from work when we have the baby...but we don't get that time off when that baby is about to leave. And we should. It's such an important time and one we won't ever get back.
I will have plenty of time in my life to work on my business. What I can't control is the limited time I have with my kids. In two years I will have an empty nest and can work myself into the ground if I want to.
Right now what I need to be doing is playing cards with my daughter right smack in the middle of the day.