As much as I have missed them both, I must say that I’m a bit apprehensive. We’re temporarily in an apartment with about a quarter of the space of the house we left. We aren’t, however, living with a quarter of the child. If anything, we’re living with double the child. Given the strangeness of our transitions – selling the only house Curly Fries has ever lived in, moving in with her grandparents, leaving the day school she’s attended since she was two months old, not seeing her father for days on end – well, let’s just say she’s been acting off the chain. The energy she has invested in acting out has been matched by the energy she invests in rejoicing when she sees me and the three of us are together on weekends. We’ve had a high time getting to know our new city – playgrounds, museums, swimming – but that’s all been done on the weekends. On weeknights, I’ve had the place to myself.
I’m an introvert, and there’s been a tangible sense of luxury in having entire evenings to myself. I can work out on my own schedule; I can fix dinner whenever I want; I can watch TV uninterrupted; I can randomly decide to go out and run errands. However, the downside of all this alone time should be evidenced by the final clause of the previous sentence. Who thrills at the freedom of running errands? I’ll tell you who: lonely people. You have to be an extreme introvert to enjoy being alone all the time. As I’ve been telling some of my friends, something feels particularly pitiful to me every night when I try to figure out what to cook for a man who’s all by himself.
I’m glad that I will not be missing my child’s moments of hilarity, preciousness, and genius. All my cute parenting stories of the last month have come from reading my spouse’s Facebook page. I’m also glad that I won’t feel my life split into a disjointed dichotomy of an exciting work life and a boring, depressing, and lonely personal life. However, I’m already a little tired thinking about trying to get her to bed on a night when I also need to get to bed. And it takes very little work for a three-year-old to dirty up an apartment.
So, prayers have been floating around my heart all day. Prayers of thanksgiving, and also prayers for strength. Being a family is hard work, and the work is about to start up in earnest again. But I’ve certainly been reminded during my six-week break from this work why it’s work I’ve committed to do.