My family fills the hours I am away at work. They are ingrained in the thoughts of my day. I miss each moment I had, and each moment I don’t get to have.
Walking up the stairs to my office, I hold my daughter’s hand climbing through the Red Rock Mountains. I look down at her and see my briefcase clutched in my hand where hers should be. I look up at the next flight of stairs and see my son laughing and racing to stay ahead of us.
At my desk, my son’s toy dinosaurs appear where my office supplies once were. His smile brightens the room as he moves from one dinosaur to the next. I can hear him roar as one note pad attacks my computer speaker.
The tone of an incoming email brings me back to the office. My mood turns to frustration as I read the latest tragedy that seeks my attention.
Sitting at a circular table in the boardroom, I watch the screen show the latest quality metrics.
My mind hears the laughs and sees the smiles of my beautiful children. I can see their faces, hear their giggles.
I touch my forehead to theirs and get a kiss. I snap back to the meeting when I’m asked for my action plan. I stand, present, and sit back onto my couch. Holding my wife’s hand, our kids jump on us and toss pillows around the room.
I make my way to a seat in the cafeteria. A picnic blanket is spread across the floor. A soccer ball rolls to my foot and I see my son scream with joy as he chases after it. My wife breaks her cookie in half and holds it out to me. I look across the blanket where my wife should be and see coworkers sitting at distant tables oblivious to my children running around the grassy field. I look down at my plastic tray and silverware. The soup of the day is spilled over the side of the cup and soaks into the napkins.
My next meeting takes me to a large room with the tables forming a square swimming pool in the middle. My wife pulls down her sunglasses to give me a wink and smile. My daughter swims from one end to the other. Kicking so hard and laughing nervously because it’s her first time doing it on her own. I smile with pride before I’m asked my opinion on the current strategy. The innocent image disappears and I find myself in the hot seat, defending my latest decisions for the organization.
I walk through the department to check on my team. My eye catches my daughter playing with her Frozen dollhouse—the one she was so excited to get for Christmas.
I can see her running down the stairs on Christmas morning, my wife wrapped in my arms as we watch our daughter scream with excitement.
Holding a fourth cup of coffee, I make small talk with a colleague about his day. He shows me the latest details and I see my son dancing and singing across each page. I tell him to keep up the good work and I move on down to the next staff member to ask the same rounding questions for my daily log.
Standing over a colleague’s desk, we look over an upcoming presentation. I take my pen and make a note in the margins. I look over and my kids are drawing next to me in the driveway. A variety of colors, shapes, and letters are scattered across the concrete. My coworker nods in approval of the edit. I smile at my kids outlining each other’s bodies before turning the page to the next set of slides.
I look up at the clock to realize the time. I throw my folders into my desk and jump from my chair. Running to the coatrack, I grab my jacket and run out of the room. Down the stairs and to the car.
I race home wondering how their days went. I think about what we may do tonight and hope I have the energy to make the most of each moment with my family.