I stepped into my hotel room to a pleasant surprise. Lots of room surrounded an inviting king-size bed, flanked by overstuffed armchairs that rested against sliding glass doors that opened onto a private patio. A small dining table sat next to a kitchenette with a separate sink, refrigerator and coffee machine. "Wow," I thought to myself. "Nice place."
I love hotels - from the Holiday Inn Express to the Ritz-Carlton and everything in between. I love to enter a clean room, hang my clothes and gaze out the window, walk out in the morning knowing that each afternoon when I return, someone else will have made the bed. I like in-room dining and the way they greet you so professionally. "Nice to have you with us again, Mr. Goldsborough." Very cool.
The problem is that unless Alison travels with me, I never sleep well in hotels. I miss my family. Even though Linus and Camille, at ages 4 and almost 2, find a way to interrupt even the best night's sleep at home, still, I'd rather be with them. I'll take Linus clamoring over me at five AM or a kick in the chin from Camille over the finest linens and a chocolate on my pillow. When I'm on the road I yearn for my loved ones.
I'm deeply troubled by the number of parents who wake up too late with the realization: "My children grew up too fast. In the hustle-bustle of career and corporate rat race, I missed their childhood." What they fail to say but too often inwardly think causes me even more pain: "...and I barely even know them."This applies to couples as well - so in a hurry to get who-knows-where - a destination seldom defined. Relationships turn into co-habitations, romance into convenience. Very disturbing.
A hundred years from now, no one will remember the size of your bank account, the car you drove or the square footage of your house. The world might differ greatly however, based on your impact in the life of a small child. Your life will most certainly improve, if you pay attention to your significant other, make the choice to put her or him first. Your example will benefit the rest of us. Our world cries out for role models and heroes of every day living. What could you do today to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you? What will you do tomorrow? And the next day?
Think of one specific action that you can take, and take it. Then think of another one and take that, too. Challenge yourself to find new ways to express your appreciation and love on a daily basis. It will pay off ten-fold at home.
On those slightly stressful days when the grass looks a little greener and you feel like maybe you need a break, remember this. Room service will never kiss you goodnight!
Ridgely Goldsborough publishes The Daily Column, a collection of heart-felt stories designed to inspire hope and courage at his website, www.aviewfromaridge.com. This story is used with permission