Thomas Fiffer anticipates the beginning of a weekend with his boys.
Today is the start of a kid weekend.
I have my boys every other weekend, according to my separation agreement.
As I dropped them off at school this morning, I felt blessed to say the words, I’ll see you tonight. This happens just once every two weeks, on the Friday mornings that start our weekends together. After our other Tuesday and Thursday overnights, it’s, Love you guys. See you both tomorrow.
Walking through the station parking lot, I was filled with anticipation.
I thought about all the exciting things the three of us might do together.
Sleeping late and relaxing on Saturday morning, knowing we don’t have to be anywhere.
Making a big breakfast—pancakes, or bacon, or eggs, or all three—and not finishing it.
Nestling in my bed with me in the middle and watching one or more movies together on pay-per-view. We like to watch our movies several times over the weekend, and I catch parts of them when I’m not doing dishes or laundry or making meals. Last time it was Ice Age 3: Continental Drift.
Watching them play their video games.
Being badgered to buy them apps for their iPads.
Laughing—at their jokes or mine. I like to make puns, and sometimes we’ll go on a riff, as we did with cow jokes a few months ago, milking them for all they were worth.
Going to the local bank, counting their change in the coin machine, and depositing a few dollars in their accounts.
Breaking out the art supplies.
A walk to the library, weather permitting.
Picking up some school supplies at Staples and maybe stopping at Panera next door to have some black bean soup for lunch.
Stocking up on Flavor Blast Goldfish at CVS.
These activities may not sound exciting to you. What about the Peabody natural history museum in New Haven, or the Aquarium in South Norwalk? Or a big day in New York? Where’s the cultural stimulation? We’ve done these things numerous times, and we’ll surely do them again. But most of the time we prefer not to make any special plans at all. The special thing for us is just hanging, our word for being together.
You also might wonder if on the other Fridays, the ones that start my non-kid weekends, I feel a sense of loneliness and loss. While I would surely love to be with my boys and do snap up every opportunity for extra time with them, I feel a different kind of anticipation and excitement as I lean in to my time of solitude.
Having a second glass of wine on Friday night.
Sleeping late on Saturday morning, in complete quiet and peace.
Reading, writing, and thinking without interruption.
Clipping the newspaper, and getting to articles previously clipped.
Cleaning my house.
Washing my boys’ sheets and blankets so they’re all clean for the following week.
Working on my various projects.
Talking to family and friends.
I am, above all, grateful to have brought my life to a place where I have much to look forward to.
A place where flowers grow, then bud, then burst into bloom.
A hard-won place, and one I work hard to maintain and protect.
A place where I can say to myself, onward and upward, there’s much more to come.
This was previously published on Tom Aplomb.
Read more in the Real Fatherhood series.
Image credit: ms.akr/Flickr