By Jim Hagarty
I dropped off my son at work today at 9:30 a.m. and wished him a good day. Thursday is his busy day and I won’t see him again for 12 hours. Two week ago, I took my daughter back to her apartment in a city a three-hour drive away and said goodbye. “See you in three weeks,” she called out from her balcony.
Twelve hours? Three weeks?
I still can’t get used to this after all these years. There was a time when we were all together 24 hours a day. Now in their early 20s, we’ve had separations that have lasted as long as six weeks and they have spent time in some far-flung places.
I remember the first day I dropped them both off at nursery school. I was a stay-at-home dad and had been with them all day long, every day. As I walked away, I could hear through a window of the school my daughter screaming at the separation. I sat in my car and openly wept like I never had before. To punish myself even more, I slipped a Fred Penner tape of songs, their favourites, into the car stereo. Then the waterworks flowed without stopping.
But the tears were good and even then I was grateful for them. Finally, this cold, cold heart was melting. It’s been not much more than a puddle on the floor ever since.