It is odd when I think back on it. I know that for a large portion of my childhood, my Dad traveled for work. He wasn’t in the oilfield like my husband, but he did have a sales job. Every week on Sunday or Monday he would leave and be back in time for the weekend. The weird thing is I don’t actually remember my Dad being gone. You would think that I would recall the things he missed like ballet recitals or softball games, but I have no memory of it.
All of this made me think about you, my fellow oilfield wives. I know every single one of my friends who is a mom worries. You worry about your kids and your husband. You worry if you husband’s absence is affecting the kids negatively. You worry if they might be doing better if Dad was home all the time. You worry some more and add in a little guilt. To ease your guilt and your worries, here is what this girl does actually remember about a childhood where Dad traveled extensively for work.
You don’t have to be home every day to have a positive impact in your kid’s lives. My Dad was still very present in my life and made the most of it when he was home. Like I said earlier, I don’t actually remember the negative aspects of him being gone, but I do remember going to breakfast as a family on Saturday mornings. I don’t remember him not being there to help with homework, but I do remember talking the entire morning we were in the deer blind and I couldn’t understand why we never saw any deer. I don’t remember him missing my softball practice, but I do remember the excitement and how special I felt at our father-daughter dates. I remember the times he was home, not when he was gone.
Even though he wasn’t there to tuck me into bed every night, the things he taught me when he was home are still part of my beliefs and habits. He taught me to befriend people who didn’t have any friends. He taught me how to set goals, be assertive, and deal with difficult people. He taught me the importance of hard work and doing more than you are asked. He taught me about money and how to use it. Seeing him travel and the hours that he put in with his job showed me that success doesn’t come easy; it comes with sacrifice and effort. In a time where making a good living in this country is deemed “unfair” and “lucky”, my Dad taught me the truth about how to get there. Some people say it is unfair, I saw it as hard work and sacrifice.
Even now at thirty-three years old, I still have a close relationship with my Dad just like I did when I was a child. You can be one who travels to provide for your family and still be a good parent. You don’t have to be home every day to have a presence in your children’s lives. When you are gone a lot, the time when you are home is even more precious. Dad used what little time we did have very wisely and focused on his family. Those are the things I remember.
Make the most of your time together as a family and your children will cherish it forever.