When Evan was just a baby, I started bringing him a keychain from each city I visit whenever I travel for business. It seemed like a good idea at the time. He could learn where various cities are located. Also, oftentimes, I try to find a keychain which includes a picture of what that city is famous for. So he could learn, for example, that Iowa is famous for corn. Sometimes I might even get him a couple of keychains from a particular city if I thought he could learn from them. I figured there were lots of lessons behind these keychains and, really, he looks forward to getting them when I come home. In fact, he now has quite a keychain collection. They overflow a box in his room. He has keychains from probably over 100 cities as well as 25 states and probably six or more countries.
But, as he's grown older, I have come to a bad realization. Evan may not look at these keychains later and remember a dad who loved him and wanted to teach him things. He may not remember the care with which I chose each keychain and tried to tell him about it when I came home. He may remember only a dad who had to travel a lot -- a lot more, in fact, than that particular dad would have preferred. But he won't remember my side of the travel. Instead, he will just remember that I wasn't there all the time when he was growing up.
I do not travel nearly as much as I used to but, still, there is no replacing lost seconds, minutes and hours with those I love.