One of the things every parent learns quickly is that, even with great family discipline and organization, all calender planning falls under the category of “under ideal circumstances…” I had an enormous amount of success on my first Doctor Noize tour in California, and came home all excited to jump back to work and take advantage of the great momentum the tour’s success had given me. Instead… After being gone for three weeks, I seem to lose at least a few work hours every week since returning to family needs or illness.
First, we returned home to realize there was less than a week left on the warranty of our new home. So there were a few days of work checking everything in the house, making warranty claims, overseeing repairs, etc. Then, of course, there was the pile of three weeks’ worth of mail to get to — bills, etc. — which actually was more like a month of mail, because the week before we left was rather hectic. And, of course, the 776 emails I had amassed after being gone for a few weeks. (I’m down to 487 emails as of this writing…)
Fine. I sucked it up and took several days of work to do all that. Great. Mostly done, full speed ahead with the career, tomorrow morning I’m back to work, getting back on that momentum of success and good will from the tour… And that night, Riley (almost three years old) gets croup. This keeps us up fairly late, and then my wife pulls a super mom and decides to hold Riley in her arms all night, in the reclining rocking chair, next to the open window to help her breathing. So they get the best sleep they can. Way to go, mom! But, of course, the next day (Monday), Riley is too sick to go to school, Mom has meetings all day for work, so dad… Takes care of Riley. This is, of course, the same day I’m supposed to be heavily involved in the final day of book production before manufacturing the first Doctor Noize book. The book ends up done several days behind what was already several days behind schedule, and this costs me: XM Kids Radio was going to plug the book that weekend, but I was no longer sure the book would be ready in time for Christmas (a direct result of the lost work time over the last week), so I couldn’t give them the official info on the book in time for them to talk it up when they rebroadcast my CD last weekend. Bottom line: An opportunity lost.
This was frustrating stuff, so I made a wise decision and actually kept to it quite nicely: I decided to accept and forget these lost opportunities on Monday morning, and simply enjoy the unexpected day off of work to spend doing quiet and mellow things with my beautiful little Riley and her bad cold. And she was a wonder — low energy but high spirits, lots of hugging and reading books, napping in my arms a bit, taking a walk around the neighborhood on daddy’s shoulders, making me fall in love with her again. They way I see it, if you’re gonna lose something — work time, a business opportunity, some money probably — you might as well gain something out of it too. And getting to be with Riley and expecting to accomplish nothing else that day was, as they say, “nice work if you can get it.”
Before I get too gooey on the sentimentality, though, I will offer this reality check: Sure, it’s nice work, but if I do that kind of work too much, we’ll have to sell the house and live in a fine, upstanding tent in the hills somewhere soon. But there are times in parenting when, despite the fact that you really really were scheduled to do something very important for your career, your kid will need something, and there will be nobody but you to do it. At that point, you can either feel great stress over this lost opportunity, or you can let it go and realize it just wasn’t meant to be. And in a way, there is no greater feeling than truly getting to this point for a day, and realizing that you are happily sacrificing one of your goals to nurture the life of your little Action/Adventure Superhero Who Is Currently On Injured Reserve until she is good to go full speed again. So if you’re gonna take a loss, you might as well do it right, and embrace the gain too.
Still, my beautiful Riley, and I mean this both for your sake and for mine: Get well soon.