When I was younger, my father was barely ever home. He used to stay out till late, working in his office and when he did come home, he would always have other things to take care of such as phone calls, reports, and scheduling business meetings. Somewhere in the midst of his busy lifestyle which didn’t fit in any family bonding time, we gradually lost the father-son connection.
When I had my first son Dylan, I was still a senior in college, struggling to get my college papers and assignments done on time. Whenever I used to come back home, my son would greet me at the door eagerly but being the busy parent that I was; I was always in a hurry to get to the dinner table and finish my projects afterwards to ensure that I didn’t have to stay up all night completing them. As time went by, my son grew and so did my family. Today I am proud father of 2 beautiful girls, the youngest one only two years old, and my son Dylan who is now 7.
Last week when I came home, I noticed something that I had been neglecting for the past seven years. As I walked through the front door, my son who was engrossed in playing on his iPad and listening to music through his headphones, barely looked up to greet me. I slowly went up to him to take off his headphones and asked, “How’s it going, son?” “Fine,” was all he said before looking back at the screen. It was only at that moment that I realized how I had damaged our relationship over the past seven years that I had never even once greeted my son enthusiastically at the door whenever he would come running to me after a long day at school or work. Honestly, I had simply forgotten to make my kids my priority, just like my own father had forgotten to make me his.
I do have a great relationship with my son Dylan, and although he stopped greeting my at the front door years ago, we do get along well and have good conversations over dinners. But the regret of losing that special connection with my son simply because I was too busy with life to simply drop my bags at the door for a few minutes and engage in short ritual of cuddling with my son and engaging in father-son bonding time. My two daughters are very young and they still excitedly greet me at the door, but the regret that my oldest son may never do that with me was heart-wrenching.
The next day when I came back home, I made sure to switch off my phone before entering the front door, and as soon as I walked in, my two-year-old crawled up my leg as she usually did, excited to see her dad after a long day. This time, my reaction towards the situation was different than it usually was. I dropped all of my bags in the doorway and picked up my little girl, letting her tiny hand cling to my chest as she giggled excitedly. Hearing the noise, Dylan and his younger sister also came up to me smiling, and as my other daughter wrapped herself around my legs, my son did something that I never thought he would do – he greeted me at the door was a big hug.