It’s a good thing I’m not paid to write this blog. If I were, I would be fired. I discovered today that I only posted four times in October. I’m not precisely sure how I should feel about that, but “ashamed” seems close to the mark.
And it is not that I’ve had no feelings of gratitude. But the last few weeks have been tumultuously busy, both at work and at home. It hasn’t been an unpleasant busy. I’ve felt a sense of efficacy and productivity at work, and home life has been packed with the sort of activities that are exhausting, but nevertheless remind me why having a family can be a great thing.
Today was an exception from the fast pace that has characterized the last month. After bundling the kids into the car and getting my oldest on the bus, I discovered a text message from our child care provider saying she was ill. What started as any other Monday turned into a “Daddy-Zachary” day.
When I was young, my mom and I would sometimes go out together for a muffin and coffee (muffin and hot chocolate for me). Sometimes I would save up my money so that it would be my treat, though I’m willing to bet my money never made it to the till, my mother being so very much like a mom.
One of my regrets as a parent is that, after the birth of my youngest, spending time alone with either of my boys became a rare occurrence. No doubt all children with siblings appreciate an opportunity to spend time alone with a parent. For the child, the absence of another sibling is the very thing that makes it special: for a little while, the child isn’t just “one of the kids” but a friend, a confidant, “chosen.” For the parent, the experience is visited with a quietude that must otherwise seem like a distant memory. Although my sons have a fraternal affection for each other I doubt my brother and I ever shared, spending time with both of my sons together still usually leaves me feeling like a referee, and I am sure most parents feel the same way.
Today, I am thankful for the few moments in life when parents are able to move beyond the parent-child roles and be friends with their kids. After Zachary and I returned from a visit to the library, I suggested that he go use the washroom, and then we could read all the books we borrowed. As he began climbing the stairs, he exclaimed, “this is going to be the best day ever!” It’s uplifting to see that much enthusiasm over something so simple as reading books with Dad. It’s not like we don’t read books together every day! But today was special: it was just us.