Good morning to everyone except the people who forgot to warn us two kids are more than double the work of one.
Dia is taking it in stride. I'm exhausted.
Livin' La Vida Luna
Oh, you fancy, huh?
Nails done, hair done, everything did
Workin' Hard or Hardly Working?
“I didn’t spend time with my dad until I was old enough to go to work with him without getting in his way.”
This is a story I’ve been telling myself my entire adult life.
So when Luna was born, I promised myself things would be different.
Up until this past week, Luna has never seen me do any type of work. If she stayed at home because she was too sick to go to school, my laptop wouldn’t come out of my backpack unless or until she was napping / sleeping.
Everyone I work with knows not to call me between 4p and 7p, because I pick her up from school at 4 and she goes to sleep at 7.
For the past year or so, Luna's only association with the word “work” is this mysterious place Mommy goes to on a train 3 times per week.
As far as she’s concerned, Dad doesn’t work, which I now realize is a major problem. Mainly because we have some nice stuff and enjoy luxurious experiences, and she needs to know those things don't just appear out of thin air.
So I consciously broke my “no work in front of Luna” rule last week.
After we sold our 4-unit mixed-use property, I had to sign some docs in front of a notary and overnight them to a title company. I thought it would be fun to bring Luna with me to the UPS store after school to get it done.
It was a total hit. She loved the deviation from the routine and has been asking to come to work with me every day since then.
This past Tuesday, another opportunity presented itself. We finally got to demolish the house for our new construction project.
Instead of rushing Luna to school in the morning and trying to get back in time to “supervise” the demo, we packed the whole family in the car (Luca too) and went to the construction site to watch the excavators take down the house at 8am.
We watched from the car with the windows down to get as much of the experience as we could while staying safe.
At the end of the day, when I picked up Luna from school, she said she wanted to go back to work to see the house. I told her the house wasn’t there anymore.
But she demanded to see it with her own eyes. She cried until I agreed. As we drove towards the site, her eyes began to light up.
Watching her in awe of the rubble left behind was amazing.
And that's when the memories came rushing back to me. My earliest memories of spending time with my dad were similar to moments like this.
My dad would let me count the daily bank deposit on weekends. It would take me like 10 minutes to count a few hundred dollars. When I was done, I’d say, “I think it’s $536.75”. He’d reply with, “You can’t think. You have to know. Count it again.”
My dad is NOT a patient man. But he always waited for me to count again, instilling the importance of precision in me.
Then once we made the deposit ready, we’d head off to the bank. We’d go to The Trust Company in East Hanover on Route 10 (it’s now a Chipotle). All the tellers would welcome us by name and I’d leave with a lollipop every time.
After the bank, we’d race to Bagels-4-U a few doors down in the same strip mall. We would share a plain bagel with cream cheese and a box of orange juice.
I'll admit to seeing my early relationship with my dad through the lens of a glass half empty because he was always so busy working. I don't think he ever read me a book, tucked me into bed, dressed me for school, or made me breakfast. My Ba (grandma) and mom did all of that and much more.
The truth is my parents didn’t really have a work/life balance. They had a work/life blend. For most of my childhood, we LIVED above our family business. So even though my dad was always only a few doors away, it sort of felt like he was never around in the early days.
And I’m just now realizing (as I’m writing this) that if I simply choose to see the glass as half full, our situation was such a blessing for me in the long run.
As soon as I was old enough to be my dad’s shadow, it was all I wanted to do. I spent HOURS per day just observing him talk to customers, solve problems, negotiate with vendors, manage employees, and more.
How many kids can say they had a similar experience? I was paying attention, and I think it's paying off.
Somehow, I have an opportunity to be both types of fathers to my children. I can do the mushy gushy stuff early on and show them the value of hard work as they start to understand more about how the world works.
As I was thinking about all of this, another memory came to mind. This one was from a little later in life. Maybe I was around 10 years old.
I asked my dad to buy a lottery ticket. He quickly and firmly said, “No”, which was really weird because my dad never said no to me (he got my mom to do that).
So as we were in the car on the way back home, I asked my dad if he believed in luck. I’ll never forget his response.
“I don’t believe in luck… I believe in hard work. And if you work hard enough for a long time, eventually it will look like you got lucky.”
I'm convinced if Dia and I continue to put in the work with our kids and our careers, I truly feel like we're a good year or two away from looking like we got lucky.
Until then, we'll just be over here building some dope shit.