The old adage goes, “Of all the thing I’ve lost, I miss my free time the most.”. (Yes, that’s a period before an end quote followed by a period. I’m rearranging the rules of punctuation to make sense to myself.) In the parenting world, the phrase rings true for many. I was recently smacked with an oar and hauled into that very boat.
The wife and I talked about all of the personal things I would be giving up to stay home with the children. Things like my career, my extra paychecks, my hobbies, my exercise routine (hello daddy dumpling!), my sanity. I didn’t believe her when she said it two years ago. And I was able to fend off the truth up until 4 months ago when the stork dropped little Smush onto our doorstep.
These days, I’m chasing children from 7am to 10:30pm. (Smush caps her night with some warm milk and late night news. If she could put herself to bed, the rest of us wouldn’t wait up.) During a standard day, I don’t get more than 10 minutes overlap where both children are napping and those wistfully silent minutes are used to wipe my own behind. Every day is go-go-go with only the random pause to look down and examine a fresh shirt stain. As you can probably guess, outside of those kid-friendly hours, my ‘free’ time is spent snoring into and slobbering onto my lucky pillows. Probably not the most productive way to spend my time, but I can’t think of anything else that prepares me as well for the following fast-paced day.
I don’t look much past the present moment anymore. I take one day at a time. It appeases my zen side and teases my type A persona. (Much of the reason for me to start this MevsGavin blog was to assuage my overly demanding, self-critical, workaholic tendencies.) And as I’ve surrendered almost all of my self-defining practices to my two time vortices (or vortexes as they say in Sedona), I’m doing my best to hold MVG together. It’s the only real way that I can peer at the stars of my day without letting their light disappear into the black hole of child rearing monotony. Because in my current state of mind, if I don’t write it down, it will be lost and never recalled again. (Besides, writing keeps me off the streets and out of the bars at night.)
I’ve taken a breather from MevsGavin, not by choice, but by necessity. Trying to find a clear head at midnight to write about the new developments of Worm and Smush has been difficult, even when I’ve soaked my neurotransmitters in spirits. (It just puts me to bed sooner!) I seldom can spare a few minutes to sit at my typewriter (it sounds more bona fide than laptop) let alone feed myself adequately. And being a slow thinker, a few minutes amounts to a puff of smoke from my ears and a sputter of hand twitches in the general direction of my keyboard. My time would be better spent pounding my head against a wall as that would offer a tangible result for my effort.
Though, in my unexpected hiatus, I realized how much this blog vocalizes my laughter and sheds my tears. It’s an extension of myself in words and images. It’s an expression of my life with kids. My definition is that of a father now. (I still haven’t completely wrapped my mind around the idea that Steph and I made people!) And I’m a father first, before anything else in my life. Maybe a few years from now, when we’re all a little older and moving a little more slowly, I’ll have some free time to look back and see what was happening at the time my babies were babies. But for now, there’s just no time to fit anything else in.