I’m a solo dad this week

"Shit, you're picking me up?"
“Shit, you’re picking me up?”

So earlier today the wife left me. Not permanently (I hope). She flew to Florida to attend a parenting conference and (again, I hope) have some fun.

For the next six days, I am a solo parent.

This is going to sound dumb, but of the different things I’ve done in my life, from the books to skydiving to a master’s degree to inventing a recipe for vanilla-flavored scrambled eggs, the one I take most pride in is fatherhood. I know—it’s cliche. But the one category I never, ever, ever wanted to fill was the dad who felt powerless or crippled with fear if the wife isn’t around. I was adamant about a 50/50 parenting arrangement from the time our daughter was born in 2003, and while there’s no real such thing as 50/50, the wife and I have this co-parenting thing down pretty solid.

Part of that is luck and fortune: We both work from home most of the time, so it’s not like one of us is gone every day until 6 pm. But a big part of it is desire. Recently we were at a dinner where a couple came with their 5-month-old baby. The mother held the child the entire time; the father clearly had no interest. God, I abhor that. I know a solid number of people who like being parents in the way one likes eating stir fry. It’s good every couple of days, but after a spell the whole thing becomes tiring and dull. Are there times I want nothing to do with the kids? Absolutely. Do I love the escape? Absolutely. But, largely, we both genuinely enjoy being around them. They’re fun. Interesting. Challenging, but not in a pull-your-hair-out way. At 10 and 13, they’re also old enough to do their own things. It’s no longer a constant hover, or need to entertain until bedtime.

Anyhow, I’m happy about this week. I’m a shit cook, but I do my best. I probably put the son to bed a little too late, but he’ll survive. I look forward to picking them up, to ferrying them around, to hearing about their adventures.

And, come 10, I’m sure I’ll be asleep.