This past year, Lenny has done more than his fair share of business travel. It can be hard on all of us, but we’ve found a few things to make the time apart a bit more interesting. Hopefully if you find yourself in my worn out slippers, they’ll help put a smile on the little faces in your house too.
I figured I’d start with the obvious. We don’t want Lenny to miss seeing how
exhausting wonderful our day was, so we use FaceTime to chat in the evening before bed. (We have friends who prefer Skype for the larger screen.) Sometimes the boys even stop looking at their own image long enough to remember what they wanted to say. Sometimes.
When the plane takes off, we pull out the map to see where Lenny’s headed. I even sneak in a few fun facts about the city. These days those nuggets are usually the local sports teams’ and stadiums’ names (which makes Pittsburg a favorite destination in the Heinz household—for the boys, at least).
Come packing time, somebody’s sure to ask, “Do you have the monkey?” That’s right, Lenny has a travel companion. And each day he sends pictures of the monkey in an interesting spot along the way. Ground Zero, Times Square, the local gas station… Not only do the kids get to see some cool spots, they know their dad is thinking of them wherever he happens to be that night.
Adults get reward points, so kids deserve a little something too. The rare trip to a really cool place may call for a special souvenir, but you can also just start a collection of something cheap that can easily be picked up in an airport. Think key chains, magnets, bumper stickers. My dad used to travel when I was little and he’d always bring me a tape. (You know, the dinosaur version of a CD.) My favorite was Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Not because I liked the music, but because I remember him saying he asked a young guy that he worked with what was cool. Well, I was far from cool at 7 years old, but to this day that music makes me smile.
Big has started writing notes and hiding them around the house for Lenny to find when he comes home. They all say almost the exact same thing, but it’s a sweet way to be mindful that being away isn’t fun for his dad either. (Well, those expensed dinners aren’t terrible, but the rest…)
Does your job or hobby have you jet setting? What are your tricks for making the time away from the kids a bit easier?