Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Home Again

The Wife took The Boy and The Girl to a major amusement park out-of-state on Monday, returning yesterday. They went with two other Moms and four other kids, so it was a full-on assault.

By all reports, they had a great time at the park. TB was on his very best behavior, and TG was mostly a good sport.* TW brought the camera, and were it not for the burden of pseudonymity, this would be a photo essay. They spent the night at someone's house, and returned yesterday thoroughly exhausted.

It also meant that I was a bachelor for an evening.

The very rare bachelor evenings have a discernible rhythm. For the first hour or so when I get home from work, it's kind of nice. I can change clothes in peace, read the mail as soon as I bring it in, sneak a snack, and exhale.

Dinner is weird, since it's solo. I don't care much for that.

For the rest of the evening, I'm just off-balance. Nothing quite feels right. I'm constantly thinking about what I 'should' do to take advantage of the time. TB hates the sound when I grind coffee, so I use his absence to do that. I read the mail at the dinner table. By about 8, I realize just how much I've come to depend on the family for a kind of discipline. Even when it makes me grumpy, the routines we have keep me grounded. In the absence of those routines, I feel unmoored. Not sad, exactly, just lost.

I lived alone for about a year and a half after starting my first full-time teaching job, but before getting married. But that was before I had ever been married, so it was different. I didn't have them to miss.

They all greeted me with smiles and hugs when I got home from work yesterday. I was amazed at how much I missed them in a single day. The Girl was moody, The Boy was clingy, The Wife was exhausted, and it was great.

There's nothing like having the whole clan together. I may be tired, but I'm not lost.

*The exception came at night, as TB shared a 'tent' in the kitchen with his friend, whom I'll call Beelzebub (not his real name). Beelzebub and TB spent hours discussing farts, demonstrating farts, simulating farts, laughing at farts, and bragging about how loudly their Dads fart. Nice to know that I'm still on his mind, even when he's away...