7,000 miles away

“Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”

-Thomas Haynes Bayly Isle of Beauty 
For the second time in the last two years I recently I spent a week in India for business. Last year my wife guest blogged during my last trip, so I never really got a chance to discuss the experience from my point of view. Obviously I picked that quote above for a reason. This is not to say I have to travel over 7,000 to appreciate my girls.

However, when you travel 7,000 miles you realize has much as you enjoy your “alone” time at home, you are safe in the knowledge your daughters aren’t far away. I like walking the dog, going for a run, heck, even cutting the grass because I get that time without the craziness and to be alone with my thoughts. My wife and I enjoy when the girls are spending the night at someone’s house, so we can have time to ourselves. But these are all short periods of time that you know are only temporary.

My trip was also just temporary, but it was almost a week and again did I mention 7,000 freakin’ miles? It wasn’t one or two days and when you are halfway around the world, you really feel halfway around the world and isolated from the people you love. Now that I have experienced this trip twice I have noticed a pattern has developed. I knew I had to take this trip and booked it months in advance, so it reality doesn’t hit you since it is so far away. It is sort of this thing that is going to happen but it is far enough down the road that there is no reality attached to it.

As you move closer reality starts to set in. The week leading up to the trip I begin to realize I really don’t want to leave my family for a week. I start to think things like “maybe I should fake an injury or sickness.” I am sure my work would love for me to pull something like that and cost them $7k+ of non-refundable money.

The week of the trip is like the Sword of Damocles, just dangling over you. Each day I wanted the week to take longer and longer in some kind of hopes that the trip wouldn’t come. The day of is a minute by minute count down until finally the car arrives and it all begins. To be honest I always end up enjoying the trip from a work perspective. When your job is to manage an offshore team, it is nice to actually meet face to face with that team.

People in India are extremely welcoming and kind. It is certainly a different world but truly a great experience. But, no matter how good the experience, I am still 7,000 miles away from my girls. Luckily the trip is a whirlwind and I don’t have too much time to dwell on how much I miss them. The last day is always the best part, knowing I am on my way home. Each part of the final day, leaving the office for the last time, checking out of the hotel and heading to the airport is all just bringing me closer to my girls.

The flight homes even though long, almost ten hours from Hyderabad to Heathrow and another almost 7 hours from Heathrow to Newark feels much shorter than the trip to India. Sure the incredibly slow moving customs line, and getting my luggage was brutal, but I was still in the right state within the right country. Walking through the door was a great experience, to see how happy my girls were to see me made me feel like a King. Yea, it lasted maybe 5 minutes but man were they a great 5 minutes.

No matter how happy my girls were to see me their enthusiasm paled in comparison to my dog Shadow. He totally upstaged them with his display of happiness and reacted like he won the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Cup and a $500 million power ball lottery all at the same time, just five times greater. images But I digress, I mean he’s a dog, overacting with displays of affection is kind of his thing. No I didn’t have to travel 7,000 miles to realize how much I appreciate my girls, but….it didn’t hurt.

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India and Thanksgiving

First I have to thank my wife Cathy for guest blogging while I was in India on business. I had long wanted her to guest blog and the trip provide a great opportunity, and she did a fantastic job. Trust me when I say that will not be the last time Cathy takes over the blog and I hope one day to get the girls do some guest blogging. For now, though you are once again stuck with me and my ramblings.

My trip for India ironically coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday and it was very apropos (get ready for the sappy). Being away from my girls made me realize how thankful I am for them and how much I missed them. My boss, Nick, who has two girls of his own and I were talking how we couldn’t have a job that required constant travel because we couldn’t be away from our family that often. Almost the moment I left for the airport I was looking forward and imagining what coming home to them would be like.

Prior to the five full days I didn’t see them at all for this trip the most days I had ever been away from them was two full days. That happened twice, the first was a canoe trip I did with my friends, and the second was a business trip to Ohio. I also spent a day away from them when I had surgery on a bulging disc. Needless to say I don’t spend a lot of time away from my girls and I am grateful for that.

A week after being away from them was Thanksgiving and that trip was a reminder of what I am thankful for. What amazing feeling it was when I came home to see the happiness and joy on my girls faces. It was about ten minutes of pure joy and elation that made me feel great. Of course after that my girls were once again on the couch with their faces buried in their electronics. Kids are very resilient and IPhones and IPods are very attention grabbing.

Mom and her three girls Day 1

While I am away traveling to India on business, my wife Catherine will be guest blogging about her experience home alone with our girls. Since I was traveling the first day and didn’t have access to post I will post both today.

A Husband Free Week –

I absolutely love reading my husband’s blogs, his writing is so entertaining.  One of my favorite blogs was a series that he wrote while I was in California with family for my Uncle David’s funeral.  It was so nicely done that it became a topic of conversation with the whole family & a source of entertainment during a very sad time.

I’m sure this reads as a shameless plug for Johns blog but I bring up his “Time as a Single Father” blogs because it was the longest we had ever been apart in almost 15 years of marriage…. Until this week.  Tonight John left for a trip to India.

John has said a few times now that it would be fun if I did a guest appearance on his blog so I thought this was the perfect opportunity.  I would like to add a disclaimer in here that I am nowhere near as entertaining as my husband.

We had a pretty normal Saturday, actually calmer than most since we only had two games.  Mia had a soccer game at 12:30, Olivia played at 3:30.  Both girls walked off the field in victory.  We came home & had an early for us chicken taco dinner which is always a hit in this house.  Less than an hour later the car service came to pick John up.

The farewell was filled with individual hugs & group hugs… lots of hugs.  There were tears, I would like to lie & say it was just the little ones but John has blogged enough that ya’all know I’m a crier.  Olivia & Mia cried as John walked out the door while Julia boasted how she has great control over her emotions.

As the car drove away the tears continued to flow. Thankfully the girls chuckled when I mentioned that we no longer had to keep on the College Football game.  So we threw on NetFlix & watched a movie.   They were not ready to call it a night when that was over so we played Uno.

While we were playing Uno Mia was texting her Dad play by play of what was happening in the game. The 1st game went well, 2nd game ended in an epic Mom/Jules battle.  Game 3…. Well I should have seen the warning signs that people were getting tired & cranky but there was no physical altercation & we made it to the end of the game so it could have been worse I suppose.

The girls finally made it to bed, although at almost 11 I still have a stubborn near 13-year-old who is still awake.  John is on his flight, in business class, with a fully reclining seat with complimentary bar as I sit on the couch hoping that the next 6 days go quickly!