Last week I was on my own with my two toddler boys. My wife was visiting her family out of state, tending to her sister who had just had surgery. It was a first for my wife and I: her first trip alone away from all of her guys, and my first time to be alone, full-time, with the guys. Days and nights alone with the kids is old hat for my wife. She’s endured more than a few of my business trips across the country, where I’m two, sometimes three, time zones away for at least two nights.
After four days and three nights with my little ones, I can completely relate to what my wife goes through. Not that is was unmanageable. Not that I was Michael Keaton from Mr. Mom. My sons slept and ate well, played famously, and cooperated. We actually had some quality guy time. I counted only two trouble spots where big bro had to go into Time Out.
What I did lose track of was time. Monday somehow morphed into Thursday, and I loved every non-paid-attention-to minute. Day and night were just that: two distinct halves of an otherwise fluid state of being. No agenda, no rushing. Just living.
I understand now when my wife says she forgets what day it is, and how she gets wistful about not wanting this phase to end. I see now the true beauty of a week punctuated by the simplest moments we grown men take for granted: waking up, going to sleep, eating at the table. Instead of cramming as many meetings and conference calls as I can in one day, I found that there really are two miniature days in one. And when you savor them, time stretches out, slows down, just like it used to so long ago.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker.