One Thoughtful Dad

Posted by Barbara Rucci on March 11, 2012 0 Comments

From the blog No Time For Flash Cards:

Business travel and being separated because of military deployments are realities for so many families with young kids. While it’s true that kids are resilient, they are still affected by the separation, as are parents. For kids, keeping connections to parents who are away keeps their bonds strong and makes them happier. The author goes on to tell of one dad she knows and his brilliant and creative way to stay connected to his 5-year old son. She interviews him on his invention on "Lego Man":

"Who came up with the idea of Lego Man?"

"The idea for Lego Man was a spur of the moment thought when leaving on my last overseas trip. This was the first trip that my son had a really hard time with me leaving. He was full-on begging me not to go. He was trying to take my suitcase away, blocking the door, etc. It was the first time that my heart was truly breaking when I had to leave. He is typically a really resilient kid and it brought tears to my eyes knowing he was so upset. It made it even worse that he wasn’t throwing a fit, but was acting like I’d want him to act if he were upset about something. He was verbalizing his frustrations and telling me why it was important to him for me not to go. As I was giving him another hug and trying not to break down, I asked him to give me something to take with me so that it would be like he was traveling along with me. His eyes lit up and he went running into his room to grab something.  He came back with Lego man and told me that I couldn’t take any of his policemen because he liked them too much, but I could take Lego Man. That made me laugh and I felt better knowing he still had his sense of humor even when he was upset."

"As a parent who travels often, and not just to a neighboring town but across oceans and many time zones, what is the hardest part about being away from your kids?"

"The most difficult part is just trying to stay connected to their everyday activities. When I’m at home, at dinner we typically discuss our days.  I miss hearing the summary of their days as they often have hilarious interpretations of what they did that day....I also really miss participating in or attending events like their preschool plays that I know will be events to remember. At the end of the day, we do the best we can to try to keep communication as frequent as possible and keep me involved in their everyday life. Technology has come a long, long way in allowing people to stay connected and using Facebook to post Lego Man’s travelogue and using FaceTime to actually see each other are exceedingly helpful in maintaining a close relationship even when not physically together."

"How does it keep you connected to home by having a little physical piece of them with you?"

I like knowing the my son and his mom share time together going through the pictures online. Especially with time zone differences, knowing they are sitting together reading the captions and talking about what Lego Man and Dad are doing gives me a small bit of a connection to home. It also gives my son and I something to discuss when we FaceTime. I love seeing his face light up when he recalls something about the pictures that he found interesting or funny. The other component is that I keep Lego Man in my pocket at all times because I never know when a good “photo op” may come up. Knowing that a small part of J is with me gives me another bit of a connection to home when I’m away."

"Do you have extra lego men with you in case of mishap?"

"I don’t, but that is a great idea! Lego Man has a hat that seems to come off quite frequently so that may be the first casualty. I came across a Lego Store in Copenhagen and wanted to go and get a picture with Lego Man in his “homeland”, but ended up not having an opportunity. That would have been a great opportunity to pick up an extra without my son knowing!"

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