Why Do You Leave Daddy?

July 11, 2013

airplaneMy daughter hit me with this today while I was sitting in my office reading emails and she was getting ready to go to camp. “Why do I leave?” I said. “You mean when I go on trips for work?” I just got back from San Diego and Los Angeles and was gone only two full days. I am not sure I had a great answer outside of daddy works and he needs to make money so she can eat and have her toys and pretty dresses. She knows I travel for my job and knows I eventually come back home, usually with some treat for the two of them. Rarely has she asked though – she has cried when I said I am leaving on an airplane but she has never asked “why”?

My daughter has a wonderful sweet soul. She is a blessing to this family for her energy, sweetness and her ability to care for everyone and everything, especially her big brother. However, it got me thinking of Zak. Most autistic kiddos struggle with the “wh” questions and I wondered if he ever really missed me when I am gone. He has never asked “why” I leave. I will tell him I am leaving for a trip and he usually walks away and says “ok”. Nothing else. He might say “make sure you bring me something good”. He has even asked what city I am going to but it is so he can tell me what state that city is in. He certainly never says I miss you.

I know I hate being away from my family and often times I wonder if it is worth it. I get paid comfortably and have always thought it was just part of the deal. I mean, I have a number of friends that travel for work – its normal, right? But would I be better served being at home every day. I continue to wonder. I wonder if it is harder on Zak than I know. Sometimes, he seems to have harder times at school and sometimes, when I am gone, he has really good days. But, does he miss me? Are the bad days because he cannot express that dad will be gone for a few days and he is anxious. Or anxious that I won’t return. Does he need dad’s view to help him through or is mom enough? ZAKSMOM is a much better parent than I am so I usually justify my being gone by telling myself that it will be a few additional days my kids won’t be screwed up! I work in the short term. ZAKSMOM works the long term (and corrects my short term mistakes!). She gets it right. I am just lucky I have not lost either one of them in Target!

So, I asked him before he left for camp this morning. He was playing a video game and I said “Hey Zak. You miss dad while he was gone.” He sort of moved his head in my direction but keeping his eyes on the game. He seemed to really thinking about my question and said, “Depends. You taking us to the water park tomorrow? I really want to ride the new slides!” I could not help but laugh at him and say “Depends, did you miss dad?” No response. After asking 3 times I made him shut off the game since he was lost in his world and I needed him in mine so I can get the answer I desperately need. I need to know my son misses me. After complaining about having to shut off the game, he said “Yes, but I really want to go to the water park.” I guess that is good enough and I’ll take it.

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