I never resented him or doubted that he loved me, but I did not understand, either. Why was Mom always there and he was not? I know now that he was working (often laboring through 16 hour days). He wanted to be there, but he was making a sacrifice for us; somehow this was lost on an 8 year old.
Now I have children of my own and although I work less (and easier) than my father before me, I certainly work more than my children may like. We are budgeted thin, but it is worth it; the children are being raised in a supportive and loving home by a parent, a priceless luxury that my father also worked hard to afford. In exchange, I am rarely home when they awake and am often absent when they lay down to sleep. I try to be there as much as I can, but I wonder (as they get older) if I will be there as much as they need.
So, I try to make up for it with one meal. I want them to remember smelling the potatoes roasting in the oven. I want them to remember helping me make the batter. I want them to remember how the last pancake on the griddle was the largest and that it was always the special pancake (with a little extra love): chocolate chips, of course. I need them to remember how I loved them, even if it takes a few years for them to understand.