The unlikely moments of school lunch are often the anchor to my children that keep us connected. As many who have read this series knows that except in the most extreme circumstances, my ex does not allow my children to call me. I am relegated to my one 4 hour visit per week and every other weekend, with exception to the scattered holidays we get together. My time with my children becomes limited and often times painful for us as we are apart. School lunch allows me the moments with my children to make up some of our lost time. I travel 25 minutes from my office to their school as often as possible to spend 10 minutes with each of them sitting at the lunch table with them and all of their friends. These moments are what I refer to as the magical lunch moments in our life. Simple and short opportunities for my children and I to laugh and talk about school and what is happening. Our time together seems to go quickly, yet these brief moments in time help secure our bond together. I live for the smiles I get from their shining faces when they see me standing in the doorway to the cafeteria waiting for them. They never know for certain what days I can break away from the office to have this time with them so it is always a surprise.
Over these long lonely years of missing my children, I have needed to search for the magical moments when I can make a difference for them in their lives, when I can show them how much I love and adore them. Our school lunches together has been one of these magical moments I search for. I learn so much about them as I sit and laugh with their friends at the table as we eat, they open up and tell me everything that is happening, they feel secure and safe, just like home. I discover the games they play on the playground with their friends and how they treat others as well as how the kids at school treat my children. I learn about the homework, the books they are reading and any issues with school and their sports. I treasure these moments with them and the opportunity to connect.
Our mealtimes have become some of the most amazing opportunities to connect with one another as we sit around tables talking with one another. My wife and I have found that our children thrive at the dinner table together. We talk honestly and openly about the things that are happening in our lives and it is an opportunity for our children, where they feel safe and secure in our home, to relax and truly open up to us. The other day while sitting at dinner together, my dear wife asked Bridger and Londyn what they liked most about coming to our home, with no hesitation whatsoever Bridger responds, “this is family.” WOW! The emotions I felt as I tightened my grip on my wife’s hand under the table were overwhelming. Finally! I received the confirmation that what we have been doing has been the right thing and we were making the impact we have been striving so hard for all these years!
These opportunities to connect with my children have provided anchors to my soul to help me through some of the dark times when they are away. This connection is what gets us through times like we enter now, as over the next month we will only have two 4 hours visits, 8 hours in 30 days of time together as a result of the holiday and weekend schedule and the conflict created with the holiday happening on my regularly scheduled weekend. It is times like this when our school lunches become ever more magical, precious and all important. The times that will anchor our souls as one.