My wife arrived home tonight after a week at the Romantic Times Booklovers convention in Chicago. She arrived home at a little after 6PM. At 7:30PM, she was in bed and going to sleep, staying awake just long enough for Anna to come home from the playing with the neighbor kids. From the sounds of it, it was an exhausting week but a very productive one, which is good.
I wish I could say that my week was as productive as hers. I had a lot of little things I wanted to get done this week that just didn’t get done. The biggest of those projects was getting to Lowe’s to buy screws to fix a part of the elliptical. Every day I meant to do that and every day, it just didn’t happen. So I guess that I have something to do on Friday. I also didn’t get any deep cleaning of the house done. I am never in the mood to do it when I’m working and figured that a week off work would be just the motivator to get some of that spring cleaning done. Well, you can see how that turned out.
But rather than focus on what I didn’t get done, I am going to choose to focus on my accomplishments. I successfully kickstarted my blogging again. I was feeling like I was really falling away from it. Even my week off of Facebook didn’t really seem to make that much of a difference in how much I wrote. But I’m glad to be in the swing of things and even though blogging will drop off now since I’m back to work tomorrow, I’m going to recommit to this space. I’m not going to put a goal on it – for example, no “I’m posting three times a week” – because that’s setting me up to fail, but I am going to make thie my primary digital imprint. I spent more time on Facebook and Twitter this week, but that’s pretty normal when I’m dying for intelligent adult conversation in the absence of my spouse. That’s going to get curtailed again. I won’t go cold turkey on Facebook like I did before, but what I did this week was too much. I was telling a friend at lunch this week that I have to try to figure out how to carve out a healthy space for Facebook, which sounds kind of douchey, but I have a feeling that the space will be pretty small.
I also grew my sideburns, which I have been wanting to do forever. Now I just have to have the courage to continue on with it and not chicken out and grow my beard back.
Most of all, I really spent the week getting to know my daughter again. That sounds kind of dumb because, duh, I live with her and see her day in and day out. But there is really something different about your interaction with your child when you are her sole caregiver. When there’s no spouse to turn to and say “I’m exhausted. Can you handle this?” you find wells of energy you didn’t even know existed. As I detailed in posts this week, we played a lot of Lego Star Wars. We had a few tense moments – mostly generating from mornings when I couldn’t convince her of the importance of kicking it into second gear – but for the most part, we get along and we do well together. There’s no doubt that we eat better when Heidi is here. I’m a lot of things but a natural cook I am not.
This wasn’t the first time or even the longest time that Anna and I have been on our own while Heidi’s been gone. We’re kind of pros at this now. But every time is different, because every time we do this, she’s just a little bit older. I think back to the first times that we did this, when she was just a wee thing, only three or four years old, and how much more self-sufficient she is. It’s only natural because she’s 10 now, but I’m still amazed by it. When I saw her running down the stairs today, I was amazed at how tall and long-legged she is. She lost another tooth on Saturday morning and for some reason, it made me think of when she was a baby and I always used to say “somebody forgot to put teeth in your mouth!” They grow up. There’s no stopping it.
Tracey Thorn has a song, “Hormones”, that addresses kids growing up. Even though it’s more from the point of view of a mother watching her daughter grow up, I can still see so much of Anna in that song. It’s really quite brilliant. You should give it a listen. It perfectly captures how bittersweet a child growing up can be for a parent.
That’s always my favorite part of Heidi being gone – just Anna and me. Even though there were times we were exceptionally frustrated with each other, that was more the exception than the rule. Who knows what it’ll be like next time? We find out in October.