Today is a travel day. I’m in Minneapolis with my buddy Mike for a few days. I love to travel, but I hate the leaving. It’s always been a very difficult thing for me to do, no matter how often I leave.
I’m a family man and very sentimental, and I hate the feeling that comes with hugging and kissing my wife and kids goodbye. I hate knowing that they will miss me. I hate knowing that I will miss them. Even though I know it’s all fine and good and healthy, it still tugs at my heart to go away, even for a night.
I think back on my kids and how they’ve responded through the years.
My oldest, Hadley, would always be stoic and ask when I was coming back and if I would bring her anything. She’d cry for me when she was little when I wasn’t home, and then, when I returned, she’d go screaming through the house, yelling at the top of her lungs, “Daddy’s home!” when I’d return. It was the best kind of homecoming.
My middle child, Daisy, and I had a little game we’d play, when I left, where we’d wave to each other as I drove off, neither of us stopping until we got out of sight of one another. This would mean waving until I was way down at the end of the street, turning the corner. Sometimes, Daisy would run down the hill in our front yard and chase after the car, waving to me and smiling and telling me she loved me. It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.
Avery, our youngest, just turned twelve, and is still in that pre-teen place where she still likes to hug us and kiss us and tell us she loves us, so leaving home is still filled with tight hugs and kisses and admonishments to be safe. She also worries that each time I leave, it might be the last time she’ll see me, so she lingers over the goodbyes, morbidly making sure that she doesn’t leave anything out that she’d regret should something bad happen to me. She gets that morbidity from me, and I get it. And appreciate it as a token of her love for me.
And then there’s Angell, my wife. The goodbyes are sweet and sad. Sweet for the expressions of love and longing. Sad for the knowledge that we’ll be apart for so many nights, absent of each other’s touch and smell.
Yes, I love traveling. I love getting to go out and see different places and meet new people and hang with good friends like my buddy Mike. But leaving the family is a steep price to pay for the pleasure of getting away.
Of course, once I’m thrown into the experience of actually traveling, the experience takes over and my family kind of moves off to the periphery a bit, popping in when I wish Angell or one or all of the kids were around to experience what I’m experiencing. Aside from that, I’m in the moment, sucking up the experiences at hand and making the most of the moment.
Getting away is good and healthy, and when it’s time to return home, the longing for family kicks in, making for a sweet homecoming.