On your first days of school

Hey kiddo! I know I haven’t written to you since your first birthday. That’s not good for me to do, but sadly your father has been a very busy person in the last few months. That’s not an excuse — there is no excuse for not communicating with you — it’s just a very sad reality.

Today you’re on your second day of school — your first was just yesterday. Your Mom and I were a little worried how you’d handle school. For the last near-18 months, the only people you’ve really known are us, and you’ve seen us nearly every day of your life. And certainly, you’ve seen your mother far more than I.

And that’s what I want to talk about, actually.

Lately, you haven’t seen a lot of me. It’s been hard for you, I know, wondering where your father is all the time. I leave early in the morning, usually just after you finish breakfast, and I’m usually not home until after you’ve had dinner and are watching “Backyardigans”. If we’re lucky, we get 90 minutes of time together before you go to bed, though it’s usually an hour. Sometimes, it’s not at all.

I hope you can forgive me for this one day. I never intended to be away from you so long every day. Had I known that 90 minute commutes and a longer-than-expected work day would be a part of life here in Costa Rica, perhaps things would have been different. Naturally, that’s all 20-20 hindsight talking, and I can’t change the past.

But I can try change the future. I can try as hard as I can to spend what time I do have with you doing things that bring us close together: getting you out of bed in the morning, feeding you breakfast, giving you your baths (and letting you soak me through splashing and squirting me with your bath toys), reading you stories, and putting you to bed. On weekends, I can add walks, going to the pool (and hopefully helping you learn to swim), and playing with you. And of course, I love making you laugh.

Please know that I love you very much, and being away from you every day for so long is very hard for me. I do it only because I love you, because this allows us to live here in Costa Rica, and allows Mom to be around you all the time. It’s a sacrifice, one that I hope does not hurt you too much.

I feel in a way that I’m missing your first days at school. I don’t know how it would be any different had we not left Calgary, but I still feel that I’m falling short. But it’s important for you to go to school, to be with other children, and learn things that I cannot teach you (like learning how to speak Spanish properly). It’s important that you learn the things that will take you through life.

And I will be there for you, as will Mom. I might not always be there to be with you, holding your hand, reading with you, sitting in my lap when you watch TV, or pick you up if you fall down. But know that you’re always in my thoughts, my head and my heart, and I always look forward to seeing your smile and hear your chatter.

With love,