You work very hard and are able to provide. Not just the basic necessities, but all sorts of extras. Because of you, your kids have a swimming pool. They have nice vacations. They have their own room. They have a big TV downstairs with lots of channels. They have all this and more.
And yet, it doesn’t matter.
It’s not the swimming pool they wanted, it was you in the swimming pool, with them. Of course, they’d rather go to Hawaii than on a road trip to Akron, but it’s in the motel room eating snacks , together, wherever you happen to be, that they really wanted. The TV is great, but not as a substitute for dad, who is always on the phone, who is always away, who is in a shitty mood all the time. Who doesn’t want their own room? Everybody does…just like everyone wants to know that they’re cared about, that they’re a priority, just like everyone wants a friend.
The stuff you get them is great. It is not, no matter how nice it is, a substitute. It is not the point. They’d rather play in an inflatable pool from Walmart than alone in one with a slide and a waterfall. They’d rather live in an apartment and have family meals together than feel lonely in the best neighborhood in town. They want you. They want fun. They want garbage time, not quality accommodations.
Remember this. Don’t fool yourself. Because you definitely can’t fool them.