A few weeks ago I got off the train from work, and saw my kids were sitting excited in the backseat of the car. It had been a long day of drama to be honest. Plus I had a ton of work related stuff in my email when I got home. In short, I was not a happy camper.
I kind of fell into the passenger seat, slumped in a ball. Judging by the look in my wife’s eyes she had a similar day (motherhood is never a joke). But shes smiled and said “Hi babe.” A weak head nod gesture and an empty “Hi” was all that came out of my mouth.
My kids were in the back seat smiling like crazy. “Hi Daddy!” my oldest daughter said with energy burst only a daughter can possess.
“Hey there” I said in a dry tone. I turned to the traffic ahead in silence. As I turned I caught my daughters eyes in the rear view mirror. It was like I had popped her favorite balloon. She had clearly been waiting to see me all day. I spoke to her like she was just some joker off the corner.
In a millisecond, images of all the people I said hello to during the day shot through my brain. I saw all the smiles I gave all my co-workers. I saw all the pounds I gave to random people on the block. I saw all the laughs I shared going to work, and coming home.
But now my wife and daughter says hello and I shrugged it off.
I pledged that day that I would never give the best of my smiles, hugs, pounds and laughs to the outside world. No matter what happens in my workday, I will preserve a corner of my heart purely for the joy of my wife and kids.
I turned around immediately and asked how her day was and we had a really cool conversation. Then I gave my wife a proper kiss as we stopped in traffic and asked about her day.
Now that might sound instinctual, but life has a way of wearing you down. The same train, same meetings, same people, same lunch etc. It is a lot to take on at times, but we should never give so much of ourselves when we are away that we have nothing in the tank when we get home.
Since that day I always make sure I greet my daughters with the best smiles. My son gets the best pounds, and my wife gets the longest, strongest hugs and kisses I can find within me.
When you are laying down for the last time, your meetings at work and the daily grind will not be on your mind. Your family, and how you treated the ones you said you loved the most will take up the bulk of your thoughts.
Never let the pressures of the world steal your smile. If anything, preserve it for the joy of your own heart. Don’t let anybody take it. Not even for a moment. Have a great day today.