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Missing My Focus

"Got it? Okay, let's begin."

Hazelrigg sensei clapped and rose from his knees. I blinked. What had he been demonstrating? Oh, right: shomenuchi ikkyo surariwaza. So why did I have no memory of the last two minutes?

Because my mind was far from the dojo. And it wasn't coming back. At the water break I begged off the rest of the aikido class.

I had to deliver some flyers for a Seven Nations concert to a college student who wasn't home yet, so I detoured to the Chapel Hill Borders. But I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be home.

With Will.

The last couple of weeks, he's been increasingly fragile. (Or, if you don't like kids, fussy. Or, if you love kids but are forced to live with them because they're yours, tantrum-prone if you're not careful.) Before aikido and going to the office, the litany's been the same: "Don't go, Daddy."

I can resist that just about one time per day. Gotta pay the bills. It's every time after when I'm stopped cold. Aikido attendance has suffered mightily since.

I don't want to spoil him. Neither is it guilt that keeps me at home more often than not. Half the problem is unrelated to parenting: late hours at the office, long drives from the office and to the dojo, early starting time for class. But the other half is simple: I love this child and don't see enough of him. Today I spent all of an hour and a half with him. Tomorrow I will blink and he will be asking for the car keys because he has a date.

There are things I can do to fulfill both heart's desires, for my child and to master aikido. I can go to bed earlier, get up earlier, go to work earlier, leave work earlier, spend more time with Will, go to aikido with a clearer conscience.

The steps are obvious. So why don't I take them?


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