It is Monday morning on August 10, 2015. It is 9:50 am.
My iPhone buzzes on my desk beside me. The buzzing sound that is all too familiar to me now. It is letting me know that someone has sent me a text message.
I unlock my iPhone and as I click into my Messages app, a video pops up on my screen. A video that Renee has sent me of our little Jesse. The video that you can see below.
It’s not the first time I’ve received a video or photo of Jesse from Renee, and I know it won’t be the last. And I will say this… I love getting sneaky little text message or Snapchat updates from Renee showing me what they are getting up to throughout the day. I actually really look forward to it, receiving photos and videos, so I can see our little Jesse while I am at work.
However, after receiving the video of Jesse from Renee on that Monday morning, something really terrified me. And that something has been constantly pulling at the back of my mind ever since receiving that video. Something that I haven’t been able to articulate, but will attempt to with this blog post.
I am absolutely terrified of missing out on important milestones in Jesse’s development and in his overall life.
Let me say this, I know that I’m not the only working dad/parent out there. And I know that I’m not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to feel like this.
But that doesn’t make it any less real for me.
I was sitting there watching back the video of my first child, my son, my little Jesse smiling away and almost letting out his first giggle. I had a smile on my face from ear to ear and little tears were welling in my eyes at the pure joy I felt watching him smiling and being so happy. But then this wave of fear washed over me.
What if I’m not there for the time he let’s out his first little giggle? What if I’m not there the first time he laughs or to hear his first word? What if I’m not there when he rolls over for the first time? Crawls for first time? Takes his first steps?
I was terrified and angry and disappointed and sad, at the very real chance that I may not be there to witness some of these milestones. That I may be at work and have to watch his first giggle through the screen of an iPhone. Or that I may be held up on public transport and have to witness the first time he crawls on the screen of our laptop when I get home.
As far as milestones in the life of a baby, some of these might only be small ones. But to me, they’re all important. Jesse’s first giggle to me, is just as important as his first word. And the first time he rolls over is just as important as his first step.
Now I know that work is where I need to be right now. I know that I need to step up into the role of being the provider for our family. And I know that Renee is forever thankful that I have taken on this responsibility, as she has conveyed in her blog post ‘An Open Letter to Dads Returning to Work’.
But at the end of the day, even though I know I won’t entirely miss these milestones (that is the beauty of technology these days), I still can’t seem to shake that distant feeling of disappointment that I may very well not be there to witness some of them first hand. All I can say is that I am extremely thankful that we are in a position that has allowed us to extend Renee’s time away from work so that one of us will be there to witness and capture these amazing moments in Jesse’s life.
It makes me think however, that I feel sorry for all the new parents out there where both mum and dad had to return to work early. As there is a real possibility that they may both miss some of these special times in a baby’s life.
Like I mentioned earlier, I know that I’m not the only working dad/parent out there that has felt like this at one stage during parenthood, and I know I won’t be the last.
But maybe, just maybe… by writing down these thoughts someone, somewhere, might realise that they aren’t alone in feeling like this. Let’s all cherish the time we have with our children, because there will be moments that we will all inevitably miss out on.