When my kids were younger, like a lot of dads, I traveled a lot. At the airport I would see a toddler and immediately miss my kids who were home safe with my wife but away from me. Our family has always been a strong unit – especially when the kids were young. When we went out and about I felt proud and confident to have my three kids tagging along with Holly and I. They were smart, cute, and well-behaved. When I was away from the family unit – the pack – I was slightly less confident, homesick, and all I wanted was to get home to rejoin the pack.
Now, for the most part, my kids have moved on with their own lives and the pack has shrunk. I miss those times when the kids were toddlers and young adolescents when we would go out as that family unit and my kid’s personalities shinned bright. Jonathan saying something highly intelligent, Michael Brandon fluttering around happy and joyful like the Woodstock character from the comic strip Peanuts, and Jessi cute as a button saying something very funny to make us all laugh.
Having Kali join our family unit has been wonderful and helps me to remember those times when the pack members relied on Holly and I for almost everything. I was away for a few days last week – the first time I’ve been gone since Kali arrived in May. I begin missing my wife anytime I leave without her if I will not be returning the same day. As I was pulling out of the driveway in my car I told her I missed her. She said, “but I’m right here – how can you miss me?” I gestured the space between us knowing it would be increasing by miles and time for the next few days and then I drove off.
This time I also began missing Kali. It was reassuring to know that she would be home with Holly the entire time I was gone but I worried she would miss me too. Would she know I was coming back? Would she lay awake at night howling at the moon? Would she eat? Would she still love me when I returned? The answers (obvious, and in order) are: probably didn’t cross her mind, no- that’s silly, YES!, and of course.
Three days later when I began my drive home I called my wife to let her know I would be arriving in a few hours. She had text me earlier in the morning to say that Kali was at her feet keeping her company while she read the paper (BTW, Holly was reading, not Kali. Just saying ’cause Kali is brilliant as we know from my last post and I didn’t want to confuse you). Although I expected nothing different it was reassuring to know that my two best girls were side by side safe at home as I journeyed back.
When I got home I came in through the garage and as when I was just outside the door that leads into the kitchen I heard a little whimper and doggie cries on the other side of the door. OK – full disclosure; I have to admit that it made me feel good that Kali was on the other side of that door waiting and happy with doggie tears to see me. OK – no doggie tears but definitely doggie cries (presumably) out of joy to see me.
Oh yeah – and Smokey was there too. No doggie cries from him but he too seemed pretty happy that the pack was once again all together.