Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

If I could change one thing

If I could change one thing about myself, I would have time for my son when he's going to sleep.

Every evening, I have just a few short hours with Ben. We have dinner and then there are dishes to wash and a lot of things to get ready for the next day. The dinner table conversations vary greatly - sometimes they are focused on work and other times we talk a lot about the school day. As any parent of a double-digit child will tell you, usually it's more like a Q&A than a true conversation. Ben is ready to move on to other things.

Then, a magical thing happens. He takes a shower, reads in bed for a little while, and then I come to tuck him in. At his moment, his mind is full of excitement and racing with ideas. In the shower, he made up two new scenes from his new Star Wars movie and came up with an idea for a video game.

And he wants to tell me about it. All about it!

He even remembers a funny thing that happened at recess and an interesting book he's reading for an upcoming school project.

But all I can think about is the seven things I need/want to do after he goes to sleep. There's more work to do, a book to write, and a lovely wife to spend time with. There's a show on TiVO and a magazine to read. My mind is racing with ideas.

And I miss it. Nearly every time I miss it.

I start to get up. I smother him with rote platitudes and hurry out the door. After all, it's five minutes past his bedtime and I have so much to do. And I think, "Why couldn't he have thought of all these things earlier?"

And he falls to sleep thinking, "Why couldn't he be ready to listen to me now?"

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?