“Daddy! Daddy! You made it, Daddy!”

Those were the words that greeted me about two hours ago, when I arrived at my daughter’s summer camp for swim Olympics.

In the morning, I told her I might not be able to come, and she didn’t seem that concerned. It was, to her, merely another day of camp, with a little swimming competition thrown in. Hell, she sees me every morning for wakeup and breakfast, every evening from dropoff, dinner, games, play, story, bed, snuggle. What’s an extra half hour at camp?

Well, I decided to go. Why? Because even though I’m writing on deadline, and even though I’ll probably be up all night, the thought of other parents being there—and Casey not having anyone around—broke my heart. Plus, I write every day. Stories come, stories go. Books come, books go. My girl will only be 8 for 365 days.

Was it worth it? Fuck, yeah. The excitement in her eyes; that crossed her face. Casey looking up from the pool at me, making sure I was watching, doing her best to impress her old man. “Wet hug!” she squealed after climbing out of the pool—and she gave me the wettest, most powerful hug I’ve had in some time.

I loved that hug.

•••

I’ve written this before, but, well, I’ll write it again. I could make more money looking for an editing job somewhere. I could have better benefits, eat corporate lunches at nice places, have co-workers to talk to and mingle with. But I want to be here. Right here. I want to drive my kids to school and take them for ice cream and know their friends and laugh and snuggle up in front of a Wonder Years re-run. Time soars by. But I hope, in being present, perhaps it zips past just a wee-bit slower.

I know not everyone has this luxury. I’m incredibly lucky I do.

4 thoughts on ““Daddy! Daddy! You made it, Daddy!””

  1. Dang Jeff, it took me awhile but I finally figured out why your posts remind me of James Lileks from time to time.

    I mean that in an OK way, y’know.

  2. Your kids’ memories of you will be worth far more (to you and them) than any book/article you ever write. Well done. Keep being a great Dad.

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