"I'll see you always."

(second in a recent series of self indulgent reflections on parenting)

Kids say things to parents and parents never forget those words. This goes for the things that you said to your parents and the things that your children say to you.
That is why there is an unspoken understanding between children and parents that persists. Parents love their children and children love their parents. Even when other things sometimes get in the way.

There is little that is worse in my life than moments of separation from my children. The bittersweet part of this is that the children know this too. I guess I am not so good at hiding it.

I am away from my children this weekend, and it makes me think back to another time when we were separated because of my work.

I had just finished packing the kids into the van for their trip. They had it all planned when I tucked them into bed the previous night: they did not want to wake up, and they wanted me to carry them into the van and snuggle them in with their favorite travelling Scooby Doo blankets and their favorite pillows. They were to sleep through it all.

I was a little concerned about carrying them to be honest. My right knee does not function reliably when I first get out of bed so I made sure to get up a little early and do the stairs a couple times to make sure all parts of my body were fully awake.

Of course that is not what happened. They each popped out of bed, eager for their trip and seeing my parents and siblings and their families. I thought I had gotten out of having to carry them to the van, but they still insisted (it was part of the plan, you know - we can't deviate from previously agreed upon issues...).

My middle daughter wanted the row of seats in the rear, and I got her in securely and she held my face and kissed me goodbye. "Goodbye Daddy... I love you."

My youngest daughter wanted the middle row, and she too got placed in securely. Then she too held my face, kissed me, but then said, "I love you too. But don't worry Daddy. I'll see you always."

"Oh Casey, what do you mean by that?" I asked her.

"I don't want to say that 'I will see you later.' I just mean that I will be thinking of you all the time in my head when I am away. OK? I'll see you always Daddy."

Kids always have a way of putting things. Straight to my heart.


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