I missed the first time that Noah really rolled over on his own without help.
I know it happened, because Kristen was smart enough to capture it on video. And what a precious video it is! But I wasn’t there. I was working.
My job isn’t one of those insane 80-hour-per-week affairs that you think about as relationship killers. But I’m still gone from home for a little over 9 hours a day. We’re fortunate, because Kristen is able to stay home with Noah and take care of him; she works part-time from home.
But I work full-time, outside our home. So I miss a lot. A huge chunk of Noah’s waking day is spent without me. What will I miss in the future? Will I miss first crawls, first steps, first unsteady walks around a room?
While Kristen was pregnant, I never realized that having her stay at home would mean that I sometimes feel guilty for going to work. Sure, I’m not being careless and irresponsible. I’m going out to help support our family. But sometimes, Kristen will text me about a particularly hard day with Noah (he’s teething AND sometimes still has reflux issues, so some days are basically wall-to-wall cryfests), and I’ll feel horribly guilty about not being there to help.
And I’m also feeling guilty sometimes for the times in the future where I know that Noah will miss me. I remember being a small boy. A regular workday that flashes by for me is a huge chunk of time for a small child. Those days where your dad is gone, working, can feel like they stretch out forever, especially when you’re just having a day where you need to see your dad. There’s not much I can say to make this better.
What I can and have been doing is to make the time I have with him count. I feed Noah when I’m home. I hold him while he sleeps. I play with him. We take walks together as a family. I think it’s working. Whenever I come home, and Noah hears my voice, his eyes get wide, he turns to look for me, and when he sees me, he smiles.
As long as that still happens, I’ll be okay. I’ll never be really okay with missing firsts, but as long as we have love, that’s what matters.