Athens, bad mother, Beijing, Burbank Bureau, Children, George Lewis, grown daughters, Guilt, Mother, NBC, News, Olympics, Oregon, Parent, Retirement, retirement party, school shooting, Separation, Sydney, Television, television correspondents, television producer, Vancouver
I attended the retirement party this week for one of the most respected television correspondents in the business. George Lewis of NBC’s Burbank Bureau decided 42 years was plenty and went out amidst a hail of hugs and accolades. Having seen so many people in television downsized or bought out it was wonderful to see him depart on his own terms, honored at a party packed with friends, colleagues and admirers. It was so gratifying to see him glowing as he basked in so much affection.
During the festivities his two grown daughters got up and gave a speech where they complimented, teased and celebrated their father. It was funny and they were charming. They also reminded him of the many occasions he missed as he was shot out of the cannon to this disaster and that. After all, George Lewis, was NBC’s go to guy. When it was George’s turn to talk he acknowledged those birthdays and moments when he couldn’t make it home. He’s excited to be more present for his little grandson.
As a mother who is a television producer I have felt much angst over the years from those separations caused by breaking news and opportunities that were too good to pass up. I had to leave my 12 week old baby for a week to cover a school shooting in Oregon and could not resist the chance to go away for weeks, even months to the Olympics in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and Vancouver. Was I a bad mother? Of course not, but I often felt guilty and hope my children will forgive me for those absences. Sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they were hurt and angry and they let me have it.
Many of my colleagues who are mothers struggle with this and from hearing George, fathers do too. What really touched me about George’s daughters was, as adults, they were able to look back on what he did and be immensely proud of their pop. He was doing important work that was recognized and respected and he also inspired them to travel and be adventurous. I hope when my boys are grownups they can understand why mom sometimes had to leave. I hope they will appreciate that the work I did outside the home also filled my soul and, as with George, was a huge part of who I am.