In a few weeks I’ll celebrate my one-year anniversary at BuzzFeed. It’s been a terrific year, but it’s also been a big change for us. I’d worked from home for a couple years prior to taking the job, so Annie and James (and Heather) were used to having me around. Very quickly I went from being home all day, every day, to being gone most of the day, and not just during working hours. I commute 90 minutes each way (which is about as fun as it sounds), so that’s another three hours each day.
The good news is that we’ve managed to stay connected by texting photos back and forth. Annie knows that if she wants me to see what’s going on at any moment, she can say “Take a photo and send it to Dad!” This means that sporadically throughout the day my phone vibrates and a photo text pops up like these:
“Annie wants to know how scary she looks.”
“Annie wants you to know ‘Sofia The First’ is on.”
Heather sends me photos, too, usually giving me the scoop on my favorite little guy:
I send photos back, but mine are usually less interesting (hey – not everyone can sit around wearing Knights’ armor). Sometimes, though, cool stuff happens at the office and I’m able to text photos like this:
That one blew Annie’s mind. “Why were The Box Trolls at your office?” “What did they say?” “Can they stop by our house?” (Unfortunately for Annie, the Box Trolls had to fly back to their home overseas immediately after stopping by the office, so they won’t be able to stop by our house. Tough break, I know.)
The photo swapping is fun, but it pales in comparison to the best moment of my day – arriving home. When my key turns in the door I hear Annie squeal somewhere deep in the house, then her feet stomping against the floor. She yells, “Dad!” as she jumps into my arms, and I swing her in the air and give her a big kiss.
James didn’t used to make much of a fuss when I came home (on account of being a tiny baby and all), but now he knows exactly what the key in the door means. Annie always gets to me first, but he’s right behind her saying, “Dada!” I give him the same swing in the air and kiss that I give Annie, and he giggles and squeals.
Those first thirty seconds in the door are awesome, but the next hour or so is great, too, as we pack it with dinner, dozens of different games in the play room, and our entire bedtime routine. It’s definitely a power hour.
Lately Annie has started to ask, “Is it the weekend tomorrow yet?” earlier and earlier in the week. She used to start asking this on Wednesday or Thursday night before bed, but this week she asked the question on Monday night! It broke my heart a little, but then it dawned on me that the fact she wants me home means I’m doing something right. If I were leaving each day and she couldn’t care less, then we’d have a problem. That made me feel better, and I think after a year of this we’re fairing pretty well, all things considered.
So good to “hear” from you Mike! Glad things are settling in – that is a big adjustment for you all. Buzzfeed sounds like a cool job and I am so glad you all are fairing so well!
P.S. Do u ever listen to audio books during your commute?
Aww, it’s so nice to be missed…and loved!
I was a working Mom and one thing I am glad of is that I fully appreciated every single welcome home that I got like that. I knew that they wouldn’t last forever and I soaked in every one. My boys are teens now and I’m lucky if I get a grunt as a hello at this point. Sounds like you have the same appreciation.
Jana Frerichs says:
You are so awesome Mike! I grew up with a dad who didn’t make time for us when he got home and to read about how that is the best part of the day is so amazing. Keep up the good work dad!
Glad that things are going well at work. Could you telecommute one day a week (I know I wish I could:) and oh, yes, I remember the days when our girls were little and when Dad would come home from work, they would be so excited and squealing for “dada.” Our 11 yr old still gets excited to see us, but the 17 yr old not so much.
Kathy Shipstad says:
Heather – Mike is a gem. You two have got to be the cutest and most honest couple. Love both of your updates. Just wait, James has just begun his mobile life in the boy world. Boys are so different from girls. Enjoy!!
Great to hear from your side again! I work mostly from home, but the couple of times a week I am gone, coming home is soooo fabulous. My just turned 5 year old has often prepared surprises for me, and I can hear their happy squealing before I have even entered the door…
90 mins commute each way sounds brutal! So sorry Mike!
So sweet! I have similar memories of when I was kid… I knew the sound of the jingle of my Mom’s keys and it meant she was coming to pick me up at daycare. It was my favorite moment of the day! And I’m with you on the 90 minute each way commute… it totally blows. Mine is in Seattle traffic which is almost as awesome as LA.
Kathy C. says:
I’d say you all are “faring” extremely well!
It was always my favorite thing to have the kids race to the door to greet me. They still come out and say hello and give a hug but there is nothing greater than squeals from little ones. Sweet. WTG on making it a year.
You’re amazing! The best part of the day is when you share it with family. Awesome! And hurry up weekend!!!
Good to hear from you, Mike!
Paula R. (fka preTzel) says:
Mike! Mike! Mike! (Sorry, channeling Monsters Inc.)
I love that your best part of the day is the squealing of the littles as they come find you. I think it might be Heather’s.
Glad you stopped by to say hello – don’t be such a stranger.
Lori R says:
Loved your post. Can picture that great welcome you get. Missed reading your point of view.
Hi Mike! We’ve missed you! Thanks for the update.
I think you’re a great Dad and the kids and Heather are as lucky to have you as you are them.
I hope this is the best part of your day for a LONG time!
Renee Hudson says:
Glad to see you are such a committed parent.