So, here I am three days into my Geneva adventure, 1 am local time, and rather than sleeping, I'm blogging. Yes kids, daddy's crazy, go get the shotgun. Speaking of kids, that's what this one's going to be about. Well, d’uh. More specifically, it's about how to deal with the steady bleeding from that which makes up your soul when you realize you're on the other side of the planet from your kids. Now many of you would simply raise a glass, sit back and say, "like this!" before downing your Margarita, and that's ok for some. Unfortunately, I'm not wired that way. Proof? I just spent 200 Francs on gifts for my kids to help stem the bleeding. Ah, guilt! It could drive an entire tourism based economy. (Heck it worked for diamonds.) But I digress. Apart from meals the most I've bought for myself is a newspaper. And this is what I'm on about. How do you keep from missing your kids when they are your raison d’etre? Well, thanks to my experience as a part time dad to my eldest, I've gotten a lot of practice in. So what to do?
- The first thing is remind yourself it's temporary. You will see them again. Yes it hurts, but it won't be forever. Think of this as slapping a bandage over the wound. It won't last forever but it'll stem the bleeding for the moment.
- Second: if you're going to focus on them, don't wallow. Do something for them. I don't care if you've been stationed at the ISS. Buy them something. Take a photo of something they might find interesting to share later. Make them something. Anything. Use your imagination. It’s supposed to come “standard issue” for parents. No, really, take a look. See it’s that one there next to the bottle marked “tolerance”.
- Three: Here's a no-brainer. Call them. Even if they can't come to the phone. Tell them you love them. It might not seem like much right now but in the long run consider it as parental CYA for when they’re older and accusing you of not being there. Also email works, maybe a post card, webcam or hhhmmm...blog?
- Four: Borrow someone else's kids (legally, of course. No, no I mean it. Put the baby back where you found it.) But seriously, in my case I got off the plane and there was Chris with his two sons Lucas and Michael. I was jetlagged, frazzled and missing my boys to the point of tears but when a little one puts his had in yours, it doesn't matter if he's biologically related. He's either looking for you to take the lead or wants to take the lead himself. Either works. And it helps stop the bleeding, let me tell you.
A famous quote I keep close to me hits on that last point, something fierce. It goes like this.
" In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child’s."-
George Eliot, Silas Marner
Heck, I don't claim to be that Christian, but the dude's got a point. And that was something that was driven home to a very tired man who missed his kids who stumbled off a plane three days ago. A big thanks to Lucas and Michael for reminding me of that.
Okay, enough sob story. How about some photos?
In ottawa Jamie wear's his MP3 player on the bus. In Geneva...well...guess he wouldn't need one.
Lucas and Michael challenging each other to a game of Chess.
The view of the lake and the "Old City" from my hotel room.