April 6, 2002 - Saturday
Until these past few months I've regularly traveled to industry events at least a few times a year. I missed a couple when Harry was born, but I missed a few more since Jeremy was born. In fact, the last time I was away for even a couple of nights was at the end of July last year when Harry was one and a half and probably not really able to understand that was away until I got back. So, as I got ready to leave tomorrow for a four day trip I found myself, for the first time, talking to Harry about going away for a few days and having him understand, at least a little. I told him I needed to go to a long meeting; that being our word to describe non-family obligations that take me out of the house (usually for an evening and thus disrupting our bedtime routine). I mentioned it once in the late afternoon as we were getting ready to go outside to play, then again at bedtime. This afternoon he said nothing and it's hard to say whether anything really registered. This evening, however, he seemed to lie there in quiet contemplation as I explained that I was going to go on a plane and would be gone for a few days.
"Don't go, dad." He said it quietly and without any overbearing degree of emotion, as if he had carefully considered the consequences and decided this would be best for all concerned. It crossed my mind that I might explain that I needed to go for work, as part of how I earn a living and pay for the house, but that ultimately seemed to lead nowhere. I talked a little about how we sometimes need to do things that we don't really like to do, like my working on the computer instead of playing with Harry all the time. But, the explanations were heavy with my own emotion and probably more confusing than anything. So, I just sang a song and told Harry I loved him and that I would be able to talk to him on the phone.