Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Defining Moments

Chris here... I had a second "defining moment" today.  For me, this cruise was never about the places we were going to visit.  Whether it was the United States, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Europe or some other exotic locale was always irrelevant for me.

Before we started this journey, I worked.  I don't mean your ordinary nine to five job.  I owned a technology company - still own it as a matter of fact.  I was in the office by 9am, worked through lunch, and got back home around 7pm.  I would usually walk in the door and sit right down at the dinner table (we always ate dinner as a family).  Immediately after dinner, Kaitlin would go to bed and I'd sit on the couch and decompress.  Casey would go to bed at 9pm and Kristen would usually follow along soon after.  Then, from around 10:30pm until 2am or 3am I'd work more.  Then the process would repeat itself.

Weekends were my extended decompression time.  I'd wake up at 10 or so on Saturday morning, read a book for a bit, and then play with the kids for an hour or two before going out and running errands or mowing the lawn.  Sundays were the same.

In other words, the time I had with my family added up to less than 20-25 hours a week.  That's just not right.  Life is not about work and your career.  It's about spending time with those you care about.  It's about taking the opportunity to, well, live.

A few weeks ago I had a defining moment on this trip.  What is a defining moment to me?  It's a point in time that makes my life and my investment in what I'm doing today all worth it.

At home, Kaitlin always wanted her Mommy.  If there was a question, she'd ask Mommy.  If she was scared, she'd call for Mommy.  If she got hurt, Mommy would make her feel better.  A few weeks ago Kaitlin fell and skinned her knee pretty bad.  She asked one of the kids she was with - "Get my Daddy!  I need my Daddy!".  It wasn't a call for Mom.  Finally, in her eyes, I was an equal caregiver and comforter.  It was an amazing feeling - absolutely amazing.

Today, I had another defining moment.  Casey disagreed with Kristen and I on something.  I don't mean just a simple disagreement.  I mean a dragged out, kickin', screamin' (not literally) disagreement.  Casey ended up in his room mad as heck, not even wanting to communicate with us.  Kristen had to go do something (the something the disagreement was about) and once she left Casey was full of guilt and desperately wanted to go with her.  At this point, he couldn't, and that drove him completely over the edge.  

Knowing that he's getting older and that things get different as you go through the tweens and teens, after I calmed him down we had a long talk about life, mistakes and decisions.  We were good - really good - after the conversation.  Tonight, as I put him into bed, he thanked me for talking to him earlier and said that it really meant a lot to him.

If we hadn't gone cruising, my life would still be my work.  My kids would still look at me as the guy who they lived with and saw, sometimes.  Yes, I was their father, but never their Dad.  I hope everyone who reads this blog has defining moments as good as mine.


Sylvina said...

Thank you--more blogs like this, please!!

Sailboss said...

Chris, I don't know you at all. but this post tells me that you're on the right track! Family and friends are our immortality. Job and business is important to keep the family and friends together. Your post touched me. Thank you.

Seven C's said...

Chris - I know exactly where you are coming from. As an I.T. Administrator for a city along with working my own extra consulting and web development company, I can sure relate.
We have five kids between 3 and twelve years old. We homeschool them. Long ago, we decided that our family comes first and the job is secondary to that as far as we could do. Well, somewhere along the way, I seem to have lost sight or nearly lost sight of that. Here I am working two jobs while trying to maintain the household. Fortunately, I have a fantastic wife who does a fantastic job just as your wife does.
Well, May 31 is my last day as IT Admin. I am putting in my notice tomorrow morning (Friday) and working full time at my own consulting and web development company. Full time in this case being three to four hours a day and no more.
We have made this decision sort of as our "Defining Moment"
I firmly believe that you made the right choice in cruising and drawing close to your family.
They are only kids once and that is when they need you the most. And it goes by SO fast!

S/V Ti' Punch said...

Love the story Chris! We are in the same place right now with missing out on the lives of our children and are working towards the big 'cast off' away from the dock. You provide great motivation - thanks!