To Red-eye or Not to Red-eye?

Everyone that travels across time zones is familiar with the scourge that is the red-eye flight.

The one that leaves late at night, flies east and arrives early in the morning.

The one that ostensibly allows you to sleep while you fly. 587px-Tired_(381649345)

The one that makes you feel like roadkill after you land.

That one.

But the sleep is never good. Everyone dreams of falling asleep like the ThunderCats in medically-induced sleep pods flying through space from Thundera to Third Earth (awesome show!). But you really end up feeling like Chris Pratt in Passengers (neat premise but underwhelming movie!).

You land and feel gross, especially if you fly in your business clothes. You start calculating how long you’ve had on the same pair of socks and underwear. And when you start asking yourself that question, the answer is never, ever, ever appealing.

You feel off for at least a day, since, at best, you can take a discombobulating power nap. Let’s be honest with ourselves, though…those naps are band-aids on a broken bone. (Or, as Chris Rock said, it is way past Robitussin.)

But what’s the alternative? Kill a day on an eastbound flight? Sounds delightful…until you have kids.

There are tons of downsides to red-eye flights in business travel. But there is one huge, massive, game-changing positive for me: I get to see my kids off to school once I land.

It may sound silly to non-parents, but getting to see my little monsters for even 15 minutes in the morning – to surprise them with a toy or treat from my trip, to eat breakfast with them, even wipe a tushy – is worth hopping a midnight transcontinental flight and powering through the toll it takes on me.

I love travelling for work, but the last thing I want is my kids to think I was always on the road. If there is any way I can get home faster following whatever reason I need to be on the road, I’m going to take it.

But…one of those ThunderCat sleeping pods would be awesome…

Photo Credit: By Dwight Sipler from Stow, MA, USA – TiredUploaded by Jacopo Werther, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25221748

 

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“I Wish I Didn’t Have A Daddy”

dad and daughter breakfast date
A Daddy-Daughter breakfast = all smiles.

Kids say things to push boundaries. To test word combinations. To see what causes a reaction.

They also struggle to moderate their emotions. Not much falls below the surface.

Especially for our Beanie.

One recent evening, The Best Mom made Beanie’s favorite dinner – ground turkey nachos with peas!

She devoured her first plate and dug into a second helping. Bug, who doesn’t normally love nachos, ate a solid portion. Must have been a great batch!

Within minutes, everything was gone. All the nachos. All the peas. All the ground turkey.

And then this happened:

Beanie: “Daddy, can I please have more nachos?”

Me: “Sweetie, we’re all out of nachos. How about a yogurt if you’re still hungry?”

Beanie: “I WISH I DIDN’T HAVE A DADDY!”

Well..that escalated quickly.

I calmly took her into another room, just the two of us, and had a conversation that
focused on the importance of parents. And that not every kid has two parents to love them and take care of them. And how lucky she is.

Then we discussed the fun things she and I have done together – going to a baseball game, eating ice cream, sneaking out for muffins…the things kids remember.

Beanie felt terrible.

She clearly didn’t mean it.

But she said it.

And it hurt.

A lot.

Like…a lot a lot.

It’s not like a tantrum at bed time. Or being mad that it was time to leave the playground.

“I wish I didn’t have a Daddy.”

She was just trying to get a reaction out of me. And she didn’t get one because I kept it inside.

I didn’t yell. Or get visibly angry. Or cry. I wanted to do all three.

Minutes later, Beanie was sitting in my lap, telling jokes in funny voices, as if nothing happened. We snuggled before bed that night and she told me how much she loved me. All smiles and hugs and kisses.

She had moved on.

 

And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

“I wish I didn’t have a Daddy.”

You see, as a parent, you need to balance long-term and short-term memory. We need to remember everything about our kids. Every detail. Every activity. Every day. What they love. What they hate. And how those lists switch places every minute.

And then…you need to learn to push things like this out of your head forever.

A few hours passed and the raw emotion wore off. A few days passed and it was well in the rear-view mirror.

But I still remember that sting. And can only hope that she never uses those words at a time when she actually means it.

 

 

In Medias Res

This is not a beginning.

It’s a continuation. So this is where we start.

blog1Our daughter is turning five in a few months.

Our son is turning three in a few weeks.

And we’re starting it all over again – when my wife gives birth to our third child – in a matter of days.

Perfect time to start a blog, right?

You may be asking yourself about the utterly pretentious name for this blog.

“The Best Dad Blog” is not a shy title. Nor is it true…I know I’m not the best dad; this is certainly not the best blog, either. But they are ideals to strive towards every single day. [Also, Search Engine Optimization for the win!]

How do I go about improving myself? And this site?

No clue. Yet.

But we’ll figure it out. And inch towards being a little bit better all the time.

[Like the image of me and Hava? I know you do. Check out Ana Isabel Photography.]