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.