And more importantly... why are kids so damn good at pointing it out!!!
This realization came about after my middle child, Beckett - 8 years old, had a tremendous weekend and was just an all around good dude. It wasn't that he did "x" or "y" therefore you get "z" kind of weekend, it was just a good showing for an extended period of time. So... what did I do to acknowledge that simplicity? Breakfast date, of course!
Anyone that knows Beckett well, knows that he is a foodie to the core. He is also one of the most sincere & compassionate person, not just in the 8 year old category, I know. He is the one that hears his mom from 3 rooms over say "I'm out of coffee" and will pause in his steps to address the lack of java. Partially for his health, because mom with coffee better than mom without coffee, but mainly because it is easy for him.
So, back to breakfast. He was thinking this pre school adventure to "surprise" location serving eggs & cheese & pork & hot sauce, in one form or another, was going to be a Hardee's, or Taco Bell, or something fast and insincere. Truth be told, I was choosing a place I really wanted to go to, knowing there were options he would enjoy... Southwest Diner.
As we pull up to the Diner, he notices the famous "Waiting Room", a.k.a. - The Bus, and immediately knows what he's getting - "Thanks dad! This is Awesome! Egg Burrito with hot sauce and bacon it is!!!" We go in, he skips the menu, is asked for his drink order, "Milk, please, thank you", orders his simple burrito, and grins.
NOW FOR THE OBVIOUS PART! Beckett, 20 seconds after ordering, and gazing around the room with a grin, and tapping his hand to Pavement on the radio... "Dad, I really like time with you. We should do this more often." And at that point I feel the knife slowly turning in my gut and realize that I've been absent, not physically, but mentally. That I have failed at communicating the obvious, especially when it came to feelings.
It immediately made me think of my father. The last couple of years before he passed, I had made it a regular habit to try and meet him for random breakfast's about once every 2-3 weeks. I initiated them, would call when it was easy, he would already be at work, and 100% of the time he said yes. 20 minute heads up and out the door he would go unfailingly. Same place... Park Grill in G.C. He placed the same order, every time - "2 eggs, poached, and wheat bread, please, thanks, and a coffee warm up, please, thanks." And then came "I wonder if the cook did his job today and pulled the butter out so it's soft. How hard is that???" Every time.
We would talk about mom a lot. How's the school? How's the students? How is she feeling? How is treatment? New chemo? And then, depending on his mood, his work. How's the drivers? Noranda have new loads? And that would be about it, because the trucking industry is that simple - Are your drivers doing their jobs, and is your biggest client still your client.
But I never said, "Dad, I enjoy this time with you." He knew I did. I knew he enjoyed it as well. But we never said it. I've realized that I am so much like him in so many ways, that I catch myself not addressing the obvious nearly enough. Beckett drives my wife and I nuts BECAUSE his brain does not have a mute, inside thought, mode. He's like this: Feels hunger, say's "I'm hungry", feels a full bladder, say's "I'm going to go to the bathroom", feels sad, say's "I feel sad", and on and on and on.
Tuesday the 24th, the day of this eye opening breakfast, my dad would have been 65. Acknowledge the little things sometimes and don't worry about the potential "not cool" factor of expressing your feelings. We all feel things every minute of every day. Sometimes, especially when it involves a simple exchange with someone you love and or care about, say it out loud. It will make their day. Trust me.