“This is a daddy finger”, Eden said yesterday, wiggling her index finger while seated at the supper table. She then began inching it up along her sippy cup, all the way to the spout, finally proclaiming, “He climbed aaallll the way up north!”
It was a cute reminder that Eden, along with rest of us, was thinking about the fact that today is my first day back in my FIFO roster. This year I’ll be away for a slightly longer 10-day stretch, then back in Perth for 11 at a time, 4 of which will be in the office. That means I have a minimum of 7 days off out of every 3 weeks, including 2 out of 3 weekends. Better for church, hopefully better for life! But we’ll see.
Many people can’t imagine doing the FIFO thing, and some people almost inadvertently (or blatantly) make you feel guilty for even considering it (“Oh, I couldn’t do that to my children”), but it has its perks. For one, not many Monday-Friday jobs allow 7 days off at a stretch without having to use up any vacation (or annual leave, as they call it here). If I use just 4 days of my 4 weeks of annual leave, that gives me 11 days off at a stretch, which is pretty good bang for your buck.
At this point in the kids lives, this roster actually gives me the most time with them possible, and good quality weekday time; time to attend dance class and go shopping with them, and hopefully soon start having dates with Eden. The days away can be challenging and the farewells a bit heartbreaking (they happen early in the morning while everyone else is asleep), but there is a cost to everything.
Once the girls are in school things may change, since they’ll be away then during the days when I’m home, and then my weekdays off will become less valuable. Until then, we make the most of our situation and appreciate the fact that my wage allows Kathryn to stay home without any financial concerns. And I’m grateful for a strong and capable – not to mention ridiculously beautiful – wife who is up to the task of raising two rambunctious kids on her own for what adds up to several months of the year!
So here’s to another season of Pilbara heat and perpetual sunny skies. Thanks for keeping up with us via the blog; it all helps to stay connected to family and friends afar.