How Many Goodnights Did I Miss (the sacrifices of the night shift parent)

5 years.

It makes me sick to think about it. I’ve missed 5 years of after school hugs… 5 years of what did you do today’s… 5 years of sitting down to a family dinner… most crushing… 5 years of bedtime stories… 5 years of goodnights… 5 years of hugs… 5 years of I love you’s… 5 years of I’ll see you in the mornings…

5 years.

It doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things… except when your kids are only seven and ten. Then it’s everything. If 5 years is an eternity to them, then I’ve missed a whole eternity. We all make sacrifices for our families. All of us. I’m here to say thank you to the night shift workers… like myself… who make some of the most difficult sacrifices.

5 years.

When dawn breaks on the next day, I’m grateful to see my wife and girls. On short sleep I get up to enjoy that one hour… enjoy as much as we can. We are talking about the most stressful hour… the shower, brush your teeth, grab your breakfast, “did you do your homework”, hurry up and get out the door hour. I understand it, they have places to be. When I DO ask the kids how their day was as they eat their waffles and gulp their juice.. I’m talking about YESTERDAY’s day… It’s old news to them… stories they’ve either already told or already catalogued away as they prepared for the new day. My wife has a car but I often drive her to work anyway. It’s THE time in the car when we get to talk.

5 years.

I’ve negotiated nights off when I can for school functions, rushed out to kids events and returned to work after… yet still… I’ve missed countless school programs, get togethers, Friday night dates with the wife, even trick-or-treating one year. HOW the hell did I allow myself to do that. HOW did I convince myself anything needed me more than my family.

5 years.

My mother worked the night shift as a nurse when my sister and I were growing up. She’d leave sandwiches for us to have with our dad. I never realized back then the sacrifices she made… the things she missed out on… the things WE missed out on. How many more bedtime stories could I have heard. How many more hugs could I have given. How many lullabies could she have sung… during HER time on the night shift. How many.

I hope my kids realize WHY I missed those bedtime kisses. I hope my wife realizes WHY I missed that Friday night glass of wine. I hope someday I realize WHY I’ve done it too. Thank you to everyone making those sacrifices.

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About dadmissions

author of Dadmissions. surrounded by a wife and two girls... and a dog named Cupcake
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5 Responses to How Many Goodnights Did I Miss (the sacrifices of the night shift parent)

  1. Anthony says:

    I feel you on the 5 years of nights, the 5 years of missing out on…well…all of it.

    I had all these words that I was going to offer, but they all were wrong. Just know that I get you, man. I get you, I’m sure your wife gets you, and your kids LOVE you–no matter how much or how little or when they get you. As long as they get you.

    You’re doing your daddy. And that’s…you’re doing the hard for what’s right.

    I feel you, brother.

  2. I feel you brother! I used to work night shifts as well. In fact, the first year of my marriage I was working the night shift. It wasn’t easy and I completely understand. It isn’t easy and there is no good way to even get your body to adjust to it.

    I used to work weekend for the first 3 years of my son’s life and that sucked because all of the experiences that we wanted to do the only time we had to do it was on the weekend and I wasn’t able to be with them.

    I can not imagine what you are going through missing all of the things you are missing because you are on the night shift

  3. I work until 9 most nights. Miss those goodnight kisses myself

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