If you want to see how the world sees you, just look in a mirror.
If you want to see how your children see you, just look at your gifts.
We had a perfectly delightful Christmas celebration, full of family and fun last week. It also included the requisite gift exchange.
The older our daughters get, the more specific they get about what they want to purchase their parents. And based on their picks, the most important thing to them was what surrounds me at the office.
My middle daughter, who’s become my official football-watching buddy seeing the Chicago Bears’ turnaround season, picked out a truly unique totem pole carved with different logos. My 10-year-old daughter picked out a pair of Bears’ earphones for me to listen to podcasts at work. Our 4-year-old foster daughter picked out a nice polo shirt I can wear at work.
In fact, the only one to pick out something I could use at home was my oldest, who has a knack for finding me funny T-shirts. Last year, it was “The Credible Hulk,” who, as the shirt says, always checks his sources. This year she got me a shirt with four elements from the periodic table listed. Their order is sulfur, argon, calcium and samarium, or, to use their symbols, S-Ar-Ca-Sm.
I love every gift my children give me. I love being thought of by my children as they select things. And I know I’m hard to shop for, as I really don’t want much out of life except seeing hard work come to fruition and the love of my family, both of which are admittedly difficult to box and wrap.
As we head into a new year, though, the work-based nature of most of those items make me question how much time they think I’m spending at work.
It’s been pretty loaded lately, as it took a little while to make the hires to become fully staffed again. The holidays are always hard, as I tend to fill in a lot of nights so others can take some much-deserved vacation time. It makes for some long days and nights of work.
While I appreciate the gesture of bringing a little more home into Dad’s office, my push for 2019 will be to bring a little more Dad home, period.
Newspapers are cruel mistresses who will take ever moment away from you and still demand more. Some days are better than others for accepting when you’ve put in an honest day’s work and returning to your family life.
I’m not the only one with a cruel mistress, by the way. I know people who are equally pulled away from the here and now by social media, drinking or fandom of their favorite teams. (Luckily for me, the Bears actually pull my family together instead of pushing it apart.)
We all have things that distract us from what’s truly important. It’s my hope that in the coming year, we all figure out how to put those distractions to the side.
Fortunately, I have those reminders in my office of what really matters to me, so much more than the Bears, cracking jokes or journalism ever will.