Two missed calls from my wife while I am on the road with my team...
Me: Babe, I texted you telling you that I’m at team lunch. Is everything okay?
My wife calls...
Her: Dylan, Amyiah is throwing up everywhere, I don’t know what to do!
Me: Ummmm, what do you mean? Like a lot?
My wife FaceTime calls with tears running down her face.
Her: I went into her room because I saw her moving during her nap on the monitor and she was gasping for air. So I picked her up and she started throwing up everywhere. I’m scared, babe, because everytime she throws up she heaves like she can’t breathe. What do I do?
Me: Just keep watching her, babe. Hold her tight. I will call the team doctor in Monaco and get them to bring you and her to the emergency room. Everything will be okay, I promise! I love you both!
Her: We love you, too...
I have been on the road with my team for ten of the past 12 days.
Is it hard being away from my family? Of course!
Did my organization help us deal with this situation while I was gone? Hell yeah.
They were able to assist my wife and daughter throughout the whole ordeal.
The doctor told my wife that our daughter has been coming down with the flu (which we suspected). Because of her sickness, she was throwing up. All we had to do was give her the recommended medicine and she would be back to normal within a few days.
Everything is good, right? Baby is okay, the scare is over…
This was the first time as a father that something serious happened to my daughter and I wasn’t there to help make things better. I wasn’t there to hold her, to kiss her, to tell her that daddy is here and things will be okay. I know it's not my fault. I know I have a career that sometimes makes it hard to be present, and that I am doing what I love to do and creating an amazing future for my family. But in certain moments like this, I still feel guilty.
I feel guilty because I can’t help my wife when she worries for our daughter.
I feel guilty because I miss certain things my daughter does that she has never done before. Even small things like holding her sippy cup by herself for the first time.
I feel guilty because my wife tells me that when I’m gone my daughter wakes up and looks around to see where her daddy is.
I feel guilty because there are days I cannot tell my daughter “daddy loves you” right when she wakes up and right before she goes to sleep.
The list goes on.
“It's part of your job, Dylan. You shouldn't feel guilty for leaving her...”
I say this to myself all the time, but I’m still trying to convince myself not to.
I love my career and wouldn’t change it for the world. I know it will provide the life for my family that we’ve always wanted, but it's still an adjustment for me. Like shit, she’s my first! I get FOMO when I leave. I hate missing things she does, especially at this stage in her life.
And what makes it worse is that when I am home, in between road trips, she stares at me. Not just your regular stare, but that stare only a daughter can master when looking at her father. My wife will be feeding her or walking with her around the house while I am doing something as simple as making a sandwich or loading the dishwasher. And my daughter doesn't take her eyes off of me. My wife says she always stares at me, “she must love her dadda.” Although I love it, I worry that her stare is joy mixed with confusion. Half of her is clearly happy to see me -- her smile is huge, I’m talking ear to ear. It's also a stare of confusion; she’s wondering when I will be gone again.
At six months old, she just doesn’t understand everything that’s going on. But as she gets older and realizes that when I have road trips I will be away for a few days or a week at a time, I don’t know if it’ll get easier or harder.
Hearing her say, “Daddy, I don’t want you to leave again,” will absolutely break my heart.
My reason for writing this piece is not for people to feel sorry for me, nor to sound ungrateful for the life I live. It’s to serve as a reminder that every second with your child counts. Being away from my daughter as much as I am helps me cherish every second I have with her. Every father I know says it goes by so fast. I believe it.
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