My family fills the hours I am away at work. They are ingrained in the thoughts of my day. I miss each moment I had, and each moment I don’t get to have.

Walking up the stairs to my office, I hold my daughter’s hand climbing through the Red Rock Mountains. I look down at her and see my briefcase clutched in my hand where hers should be. I look up at the next flight of stairs and see my son laughing and racing to stay ahead of us.

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At my desk, my son’s toy dinosaurs appear where my office supplies once were. His smile brightens the room as he moves from one dinosaur to the next. I can hear him roar as one note pad attacks my computer speaker.

The tone of an incoming email brings me back to the office. My mood turns to frustration as I read the latest tragedy that seeks my attention.

Sitting at a circular table in the boardroom, I watch the screen show the latest quality metrics.

My mind hears the laughs and sees the smiles of my beautiful children. I can see their faces, hear their giggles.

I touch my forehead to theirs and get a kiss. I snap back to the meeting when I’m asked for my action plan. I stand, present, and sit back onto my couch. Holding my wife’s hand, our kids jump on us and toss pillows around the room.

I make my way to a seat in the cafeteria. A picnic blanket is spread across the floor. A soccer ball rolls to my foot and I see my son scream with joy as he chases after it. My wife breaks her cookie in half and holds it out to me. I look across the blanket where my wife should be and see coworkers sitting at distant tables oblivious to my children running around the grassy field. I look down at my plastic tray and silverware. The soup of the day is spilled over the side of the cup and soaks into the napkins.

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My next meeting takes me to a large room with the tables forming a square swimming pool in the middle. My wife pulls down her sunglasses to give me a wink and smile. My daughter swims from one end to the other. Kicking so hard and laughing nervously because it’s her first time doing it on her own. I smile with pride before I’m asked my opinion on the current strategy. The innocent image disappears and I find myself in the hot seat, defending my latest decisions for the organization.

I walk through the department to check on my team. My eye catches my daughter playing with her Frozen dollhouse—the one she was so excited to get for Christmas.

I can see her running down the stairs on Christmas morning, my wife wrapped in my arms as we watch our daughter scream with excitement.

Holding a fourth cup of coffee, I make small talk with a colleague about his day. He shows me the latest details and I see my son dancing and singing across each page. I tell him to keep up the good work and I move on down to the next staff member to ask the same rounding questions for my daily log.

Standing over a colleague’s desk, we look over an upcoming presentation. I take my pen and make a note in the margins. I look over and my kids are drawing next to me in the driveway. A variety of colors, shapes, and letters are scattered across the concrete. My coworker nods in approval of the edit. I smile at my kids outlining each other’s bodies before turning the page to the next set of slides.

I look up at the clock to realize the time. I throw my folders into my desk and jump from my chair. Running to the coatrack, I grab my jacket and run out of the room. Down the stairs and to the car.

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I race home wondering how their days went. I think about what we may do tonight and hope I have the energy to make the most of each moment with my family.

Opening the door, I hear the words and voices I’ve waited for all day—”DADDY!”

Dan Kunde

I am married with two young children, a boy and a girl. I am a hospital administrator in Las Vegas, Nevada. I teach online nursing courses for a University in Indiana. We love exercising, being in the mountains, and doing anything in the water. I enjoy writing about growing as a Christian, husband, father, and balancing a demanding professional life while being present for my family.