Fatherhood and the Act of Letting Go…
I awoke this morning knowing that my life would be different evermore.
I was a staff photographer at a hospital for many years with an on-site daycare. I brought my children, first my son, then my daughter, with me to work everyday and dropped them off. And with the convenience of working in a hospital with their pediatrician also being there, any doctor visits were taken care of easily.
When life changed and I became a self-employed photographer, aka “freelancer”, both my children were in either elementary or middle school. During this time I drove them to school in the morning and many times picked them up in the afternoon (depending on jobs). For my son, he graduated high school in 2008 so we parted company then but I continued driving my daughter. During my time with the both of them I could be a royal pain as I was “the happy guy” while they were miserable. A funny moment happened when it was the start of a new school year, and as we rode in the car I commented, “I’ve seen happier faces on corpses.” They actually laughed. Other moments would concern morning traffic. The schools were very close to home, but delays at stop signs were inevitable. I would complain that “the satellites are watching me! There was no traffic a minute ago, but now they’re making me stop!” On one occasion I also drove my son’s friend and when he heard me talk about “the satellites” he told Jason, “Your Dad’s nuts!” I couldn’t stop laughing when Jason told me that.
For the past 5 years it’s just been my daughter and I. I still made jokes but she tended to ignore me more than my son. She also tended to “use” me more than him. When she forgot something, she’d text me asking me to bring whatever she needed. She had a 6th sense knowing when she could forget or would need something on a day that I didn’t have a job. I’d moan about it, but would always drop it off telling the secretary that I was the butler.
This all changed yesterday. My daughter graduated high school. My work as chauffeur to my children has officially ended. When September arrives both of my children will be off in college. My son will be in final year and my daughter will be starting. When I get up in the morning, I will only have myself. I am no longer the alarm clock to their day. This has really been the best time of my life. I really don’t want to let it go.
The photograph above was taken a long time ago at the Jersey Shore.
This is how I will always think of them.