Okay, to me, the greatest benefit of a layoff is spending time with the kids.
Pure happiness, love and personal emotional greed!!
I love my children just as much as I am sure all of you (who have them) do as well.
My son, Knox, and I have that special father/son bond that includes sports, scouts, loyalty to mom, frustration with little sister(s), sense of achievement at the simplest things and of course … love of meat that by all standards is bad for us all but darn good hot off a grill!
My daughter, Erica, and I have that typical father/daughter relationship. You know guys, at some point during those first several months when you look down and meet her eyes and then WA-LA PResto Change-O you are addicted… mesmerized for life! No boy will be good enough, no girl could possibly be as beautiful, nobody…I mean nobody will ever compete for your heart the way your little girl will. At that time, the time others warned you about, everyone notices the difference in your step, the twinkle in your eye and the unsuspecting happiness in you changing the diaper full of #2 while laughing and giggling like you were … a baby!
Well, for me, that time came around the two month mark. See my daughter was born in October of 2004 (b’day is 10/120 right after I was laid off from my job at Abbott Diabetes. They headed to CA and out of MA. So, I had an opportunity to be my daughter’s primary caretaker. Erica was not keen on her mom, yet! I was the one who made the world alright for her. I changed her diapers, made the formula and did most of the feedings. We were a solid unit.
So, a lay off of a few months became six and then a year and then two years etc… we were a team Erica and I.
People couldn’t believe how tight we were and how much she loved me. It was what kept me sane through a tumultuous time. Then on December 5th of 2006 I received a job offer that I had to take. An insulin pump company located on the same street I had worked for Abbott. Same drive, same industry, same culture …what an offer!
We signed Erica up for pre-school. We knew it would be hard and wanted a month to transition her in. I wasn’t going to start until after the first of the year so plenty of transition time, right? Two days of p/t at preschool. Then 3 days and then 3 f/t days and then Christmas break. We were separating with a little anxiety but she was very happy with her new surroundings and friends.
Jan 2 I head off to work. Great first day. Excited to get home and see the kids. WE had a smooth transition… or so I thought! Apparently, my Erica was not to keen on dad going back to work. My son was thrilled ( as was my wife and fellow Blockbuster video co-workers…you gotta do something, right?) but not my lil girl! All of a sudden the request was for mommy to do stories and bedtime. Good I thought, she was finally accepting of Jean and not always screaming for me. This was a plus, right?
I know what you’re thinking “…you create your own monster…”, I agree.
Nothing led me to believe that I would never ever be asked or allowed to tell another bedtime story again or get a kiss goodnight or allow me to put on the band aid or kiss the boo boo. Suddenly it was all gone. She was pissed at me for getting a job and wasn’t letting me back into her world. It was no longer “ours” but Erica’s and I wasn’t invited. No problem after a few months she will get over it, everyone said. Well, that never happened. Two plus year s later she speaks to me at times but gives me the evil eye and is angry but she has no idea why. I/we tried everything. My wife was without a break and the screaming that came with me picking Erica up was earth shattering.
Over the years I felt a sense of loneliness. I felt that I let my little girl down back then and would never get a chance to make it right. You know you go through all the emotional drama and whoa is me times. But, a dad and his daughter are supposed to have that special “nobody can ever break” bond. I was lost at home. Knox and I were great. LL, scouts, guitar all started up and of course homework. Erica was dropped off by Jean, picked up by Jean, put to bed by Jean , given medicine… you get it.
Over the last several months she has been easier on me. Allowing me to do a story once every 6-8 weeks. Let me give her medicine or kiss a boo boo but it still wasn’t what it was…instant magic. Then I got the phone call from the “cut the cord” people over there on the right side>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I was crushed and guess what my little girl told me it would be alright. MAGIC!
I get her ready in the morning, she holds my hand and gives me kisses. She still doesn’t want me taking over bedtime stories but we’re a team again! I missed her for so long. Everyone I know knew this. My mom, my wife and my son noticed right away that Erica was coming to me to hug me hold me and love me.
At some level I feel I should never ever go back to work (foolishness of course). Now that she will be five and has been in pre-school for a year already and at the same school as her brother, maybe it will be easier this time.
I suddenly have a sense of wholeness again. My heart is connecting to all the places it needs to be (wife, son, mom, and MY ERICA!).
You know the old phrase " a woman scorned…", well when that woman is a two year old girl who believes that the whole world evolves around you and then drops you like a hot potato, YIKES! I am so glad to get this treasure back, I never thought I would. There is no closing or summary to this as the story is just beginning…
I am certain there are other dads out there who understand me, there has to be. Those of you not dads yet here’s the warning and the promise…
Once you look into those little eyes…BANG… you’re theirs! However, if those little eyes belong to a teeny tiny beautiful girl then the you’re in for something you never ever imagined could or would happen.
Trust me it is a gift that you will cherish every nanosecond of your life! The power of the daughter is unmatched!