My friend Jeff likes to say that "it's not 'quality time' that matters...it's just time" when it comes to bonding with your kids.
You can't predict or force when those special moments are going to happen, but, like Wayne Gretzky used to say, "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take," if you're not there, you won't have the chance to have them.
Obviously, the balance is a never-ending quest, but the other day, as Paco suffered from a stomach bug (I did as well), I had two unlikely moments of special, paternal bonding with him.
The first came at 4am.
Unbeknownst to me, the previous night, the NFO had gotten up to clean up Paco's bout with diarrhea. On this night, the poor guy had thrown up in his bed.
Not only did he not feel well, but he was, understandably, a bit scared.
It was a mess, but he waited patiently as I cleaned up and laid out a new sheet for him. As I did, I discovered that he had some in his hair.
Off to the bath.
He was cold, shivering, so I made it quick and as I hugged him in his towel afterwards, I felt his warmth and I sensed him feeling mine. I couldn't imagine NOT being there for this moment just like I hope to be there for as many of the "bigger" moments that he will have in his life (though I'm down one, having missed his kindergarten graduation).
Still, it was powerful.
The next day, he stayed home from camp and he ran down to my office at 11.30am, after having checked the ESPN app on the iPad (yes, you read that correctly) to tell me that there was a game between Baltimore and Boston that afternoon at 12.35 and could we watch it together?
So, we had father-son "take me out to the ballgame" bonding for the first few innings, sitting on our couch on a Wed. afternoon, him skipping camp and my 'playing hooky' from work (fortunately, I have a pretty good boss), just talking about baseball. Quintessential American moment and, frankly, one of the reasons I like working at home.
Sure, for the rest of the game, we were down in my office multi-tasking, but hey, it's about balance.