We all keep one.
The things missed out on.
Those of us with children?
That list weighs heavier than almost everything else.
That guilt, and fear, and worry that it means we do not love them as we should.
But it's not true.
My kids do not know how to ride their bikes.
I try and help one and then the other needs a push or his helmet fixed.
Then Haley falls and doesn’t want to try again.
Then Wolfe wants to do something else and then Haley needs a drink.
Then the phone rings.
I never seem to have enough hands or enough time to do the little things.
The things that take more patience and time seem to fall to the sidelines, more so than the regular automatic staples. There are always dishes to be done, dogs to take to the vet, lawns to be mowed, and laundry to do.
My kids are missing out.
They are missing out on having a father.
A father that I keep telling them is there for them, loves them, and wants to teach them how to ride their bikes. He wants to be a part of their childhood and he tries.
But what about the time that is passing when he can’t and my plate is so full of trivial things that stack up in an instant, but still need to be done?
What about the times when I am so riddled with worry and concern about his safety that I can’t find the energy to read one more book or re-do the nail polish in a different color?
What about the times when I drop everything for a phone call that might be him?
How do I not push them to the side when a news blurb flies across the screen and my heart falls, waiting to explode?
How when I haven’t heard from him in days do I concentrate on a conversation about Taylor Swift when I am hoping that there will not be a knock on my door?
My kids are missing out and I am trying to do the job of two parents.
He missed both of their first years.
He missed potty training them both, and now they are missing out.
On learning to ride their bikes, wrestling, fishing, and fart talk.
I feel like I am failing them, failing them all.
I feel like am not good enough.
I don’t do enough.
I can’t do enough.
I don’t know how to do his job.
How can I be Dad, Mom, and military spouse?
I don’t know how but I do it anyway.
I try my best and yes they still do not know how to ride their bikes.
But I make sure to kiss them every chance I get.
I make sure to tell them that they are loved and adored by us both.
I apologize when I screw -up and make sure I do not add a “but you.…”
I struggle and I mess up but I keep trying.
I keep loving them.
I remind myself that I am human and so are they.
I remind myself that they are just children and to give them a little more room to be children.
They did not ask for this life and it is my job to take care of them the best that I can, for me, my husband, and for them.
I love them even if they do not know how to ride their bikes.