It’s not that I’m unhappy – it’s very important that you understand that.
I’m actually very satisfied with my life as it is. My life is awesome. Especially if you watch the news. Or Game of Thrones.
Happy. Satisfied. Grateful. That’s my Venn diagram and there’s my sunshine self grinning in the overlap.
It’s only that I lay in bed last night, staring at the wall, thinking “What the f#*! just happened?”
Where did my life go? Where did the last 3 years go? How is it that I regularly wake up before 10am? Will somebody please walk me through the process by which using my own laptop, sleeping in my own bed, or brushing my teeth are all things that require a level of scheduling, coordination, and subterfuge sufficient to hunt down Osama Bin Laden?
I wrote in one of my early posts that the first few weeks of being a parent are so intense and all-consuming that at some point you wake up and realize you’ve arrived. No doubting, no beginner-level, no probationary period – you are now, and forever will be a parent. I think that’s part of what’s happening now – standing up and looking around (consciousness-wise) after keeping my head down lately, baby-job-dishes-sleep on repeat. What pitiable social life isn’t killed by working nights and weekends, is very soundly euthanized by knowing you’ll be up at 7:00 or earlier the next morning. This may have something to do with this newest of existential crises.
The thing is, if it’s a vacation from parenthood I’m wishing for, I need not wish too hard. Every 2 months or so my work gets busy. Like, 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week for 2 weeks kinda busy. I’m at work the whole time, so it’s not quite like having my life back, but it is a very clear window into world without my son. And it’s awful. It only takes a day for me to start looking at old pictures of him in idle moments, to tear up when I come home and see his little shoes outside, see the chaos of his day all over the living room.
I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Pratfalls of Parenting” in which Twin Cities writer, actor, and funny guy Levi Weinhagen talks to local artists (mainly of the performing flavor) about being parents. It’s a fantastic podcast, especially if you’re a creative type who’s responsible for a miniature human. There’s great stuff about art, kids, gender roles, social justice, money, pregnant burlesque – it’s got it all.
In one episode Levi summarizes nicely a thought that’s been rattling in my own head: “I don’t wish I didn’t have my child, but I do wish sometimes that I didn’t have the responsibilities I have now.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the idea, and I think I share that with every papa (and mama) who’s ever had to prioritize which fluid to clean up. I can’t imagine life without the little man, but I’d love to take a shower without having to plan it days in advance.
So really, as I reflect, it’s not that I want back what I’ve lost. I just want somebody to take the man in the mornings. Maybe get the dishes, make me a burrito.
I need a footman.
Or a Gorilla butler.
First world problems. God Bless America.